Google is more than just a platform we use to drive traffic. It's also one of the most important tools digital marketers and SEOs have at their finger tips. Whether I'm prospecting links or researching for my next piece of content, Google is vital to all I do. But just doing broad searches rarely delivers the results I want. That's where search engine operators come in.
If you are wondering what a search operator is, check of the definition below.
"Google search operators are special characters and commands (sometimes called “advanced operators”) that extend the capabilities of regular text searches. Search operators can be useful for everything from content research to technical SEO audits." (Moz)
While this may seem very technical, it's pretty easy as well as helpful for any business looking to find very specific content or sites online. Check out the video below to learn more!
So, why should we use search engine operators? Well, there are a lot of reasons. One main reason is prospecting for links. When we're prospecting to find new links online, search engine operators really help us find those sites that make sense and are contextual to what we're trying to achieve and accomplish.
Another great use is for researching content. When we want to find sites that maybe we can link to or other tips and ideas for our content, search engine operators can help us find better pieces of content that make a little bit more sense. So, thanks to search engine operators, we can narrow down the results and get more of what we're looking for.
What is a search engine operator? Google search engine
There are two basic types of search operators. There are basic search operators, and these are ones that modify standard text searches, and then, we also have advanced search operators, which are typically used to narrow down searches and drill deeper into the search results. Let's take a look at how these actually work and see how they really restrict our results.
These are not all of the basic search operators, but these are the ones that you may actually find helpful. Now, the first one's pretty self-explanatory. When you put quotes around a specific keyword, it's forcing Google to use an exact match on that keyword, and it prevents any synonyms showing up if you're using a single word. So, let's take a look at what this looks like. We're going to use the example we have here, "SEO help", using our quotations. Now, this is going to force Google to look for results that are very specific to this word that have this word, SEO help, right there, number one, SEO help. SEO help. Help SEO. SEO help
The next one we're going to look at is OR. Now, there are two ways to use OR. You can either do a capital OR, or you can use the pipe. It's identical in both ways. This is going to force Google to search for a logical OR, so good OR evil. All right? So, there are two different ways you can achieve this, and let's take a look at that. You're going to type good OR evil. You're seeing evil. You're seeing good. You're seeing evil. You're seeing the two different results. It's not AND evil, so it's not going to show us both good and evil. It's going to show us one or the other. We can also restrict this the exact same way by using a pipe, and you can see, the exact same results are showing up. This is a really good way if you want to find compare and contrast. You want to find articles about one thing as well as the others. That way, you could do a compare and contrast article. It's a really quick way to constrict the search results into exactly what you're looking for.
The next one is the minus sign. Now, we put this in front of the term that we're using to exclude that term from the results. So, if I wanted to look for Hack My, but not anything that involved the word Growth, I would put -, and it will subtract anything that has Growth in it and only show Hack My and then whatever after. So, let's take a look at that one. Here you go. Hack My -Growth. Hack My Life. Hack My Life. Hack My Life. Hack My Life. Hack My Age. Hack My Life. Hack My Study. You can see it's not like we might have shown up for that, but if we did Hack My Growth, then we're going to show up. Right? As you can see, adding that minus sign is going to subtract that from the results and really narrow our results to get what we're really looking for. And that covers our basic search operators.
The next type is the advanced search operators. Now, these are going to be even more targeted. These are definitely something that we use a lot when we go into linkability. So, we've got a couple of versions. We have
Let's take a look at how these work. First off, we're going to look at
Let's look at the next type. The next type is very similar, but instead of
What else is helpful? You notice how even with the search operator, we're still getting a rich snippet that is a part of the Knowledge Graph showing up here. So, again, when you're doing content marketing research, you want to know that hey, I can use this term, and it could really help me. Maybe even possibly find a way into one of these valuable positions URL spots in the advanced search features here that Google has.
All right. Let's take a look at the next one, filetype
Okay. And let's check out the last one. The last advanced search operator is related
As you can see, using search engine operators, you can restrict searches to find content that you're looking for. This is again, very helpful when it comes to link building, creating content, and researching. Make sure you're finding the types of partners you want to build links with as well as making sure that your content is rich and researched properly. If you've got any questions about search engine operators, please let us know. Comment on the video below. Comment on this post, and we would love to continue the conversation with you. And until next time, Happy Marketing.
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