Everyone loves Google! OK, I have to admit that some of us hate it, but most people use it on a regular basis for various purposes. This article will show you five powerful, and yet little known Google search operators that can prove to be very useful for any business owner.
Let’s start with the first one, the “site” operator. Just type “site:mywebsite.com” in Google’s search box (without using the quotes) and you will get a list with your indexed website pages.
As you can see, my website has 35 indexed pages at the moment; this number will grow as I continue to write more articles. The more website pages you’ve got, the greater the chances to get more website traffic and better ranks in the search engines.
But why is this search operator useful for a business owner? First of all, it allows you to see if your website can be found in Google’s index; a search result that looks like the one in the picture below can mean one of these two things:
a) Your website has been created recently (less than 1-2 weeks ago) and Google’s search robot hasn’t managed to discover it yet;
b) Your website was de-indexed by Google; this can happen if you violate their guidelines by trying to manipulate the search engine results through black-hat SEO techniques, etc. Any result that’s greater than zero is a sign that your website isn’t deindexed.
The same “site” operator can be used to check if your newly published page / article / press release / etc was indexed by Google or not, thus being visible in its search results list. A search string like this:
“powerful google search operators” site:ethicalseocompany.com
won’t return any result now (this article isn’t published at the moment) but will most likely display this article in Google’s search results in a few days, when its robot visits my website again.
Let us move on to the second powerful search operator: “filetype”, which can be used to display only files (documents, presentations, mp3 files, etc) instead of displaying regular web pages. Let’s pretend that I am working in the car insurance industry and I am looking for a Powerpoint presentation that discusses this matter. A regular Google search that looks like this:
car insurance presentation
will return a few good results, but also a lot of irrelevant website pages. On the other hand, this search string:
car insurance filetype:ppt
will only return ppt files, Powerpoint presentations that discuss about car insurance – see for yourself:
Some of you might have used “filetype” before, but I haven’t seen too many people using the following Google search operators:
&tbs=rltm:1 – returns real time search results
&tbs=qdr:s – returns the results that were indexed a second ago
&tbs=qdr:n – returns the results that were indexed a minute ago
&tbs=qdr:h – returns the results that were indexed an hour ago
&tbs=qdr:d – returns the results that were indexed yesterday
&tbs=qdr:w – returns the results that were indexed a week ago
&tbs=qdr:m – returns the results that were indexed a month ago
&tbs=qdr:y – returns the results that were indexed a year ago
It is true that these operators are a bit more difficult to use, but don’t let that scare you – I’ll show you a step by step example right away. First of all, do a regular search for “car insurance”:
Copy and paste one of the search strings above at the end of the web address, just like I did in the picture below:
You will notice that Google only returns the results that have been indexed during the last 24 hours now (that’s what my search string told it to do). Use this search operator to track your competitors’ website updates, get industry-related news that doesn’t appear in Google News, etc.
Google can also be a free rank tracker for our SEO-related keywords. Let’s use my website as an example: a search for “ethical seo company” will display it at the top of the first Google search results page:
But does this website really have the #1 Google spot? As you can see, Google displays it using a different color, which shows that I visited it at least once in the past. As we visit certain websites, Google learns that we like them and personalizes the search results, placing our favorites closer to the top.
As you can probably guess, this won’t help us, because our real rankings are probably much worse. Fortunately, the solution to this problem is very simple; just do a regular search for the keyword that interests you and then copy / paste the string below, which turns off the personalized results, at the end of the web address:
Phew… we continue to have the #1 spot, but your mileage may vary. Add this string at the end of your web address and you will be able to track the rankings for your keywords accurately by going through the search results pages until you find your website.
What can you do if you like to get results from (let’s say) google.de in Germany, but since you aren’t a German you are being redirected to google.com? Meet the 5th operator, which can show you results from any country in the world by simply adding a: “&gl=desired_country” (without using the quotes) search string at the end of the search web address. As an example, if I wanted to see the Google “car insurance” results pages just like the people that live in England, I would search for “car insurance”, and then I’d add &gl=uk at the end of the web address, the way I did it in the picture below.
Visit the Google Country Codes page to see / download a full list of country codes.
Bonus tip: type in “google.com/ncr” (without using the quotes) in your browser to connect to google.com no matter what country you’re in (you won’t be redirected to another country-specific Google page anymore).
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