Custom Google Search Commands
Want to bend Google’s search results to your evil, maniacal ends? Or…just for some good SEO research? Either way, Google offers several helpful custom query options allowing searchers to tailor the results to their needs. I utilize several of these every single day, for competitive analysis, link building and when I’m trying to immerse myself into a new clients online industry to get myself up to speed about the landscape we are about to compete in. The following are some of my favorites along with my description of how I might use it in my day-t0-day SEO work.
The ‘site:’ command allows me to limit the results page to just one specific website and lets me know how many pages for the site have been indexed by Google. Also, it’ll let me know the major sections of the site- particularly if there are sub-domains, blogs and the general layout of the site. I find it helpful to look into 2-3 of the competing sites to tell the same thing. It’s helpful to know what kind of footprint the competing sites have. How large of a site, with sub-domains included, are we competing against.
The ‘inurl:’ command is helpful to analyze competitors use of URLs throughout their site. When I’m researching a competitor that I know is engaged in aggressive SEO, I can quickly see what main keywords they are going after by seeing the major keywords they have worked into their sub-page URLs. Also, using this command to analyzing the site I’m working on to identify duplicate content issues or poor URL structure.
Although I usually use Google’s ‘Cached’ link beneath a search result, I occasionally do a direct ‘cache:’ search to quickly see the latest Google cached version of a site. Once here, I really enjoy looking into the ‘Text-only version’ link on the top right corner to see all the text that Google is able to identify. It offers a great ‘naked’ view of the content on the page.
When I want to search just the title tags of sites, I’ll use the ‘intitle:’ command. It’s useful while link building, as I can find sites that are targeted towards the phrase (particularly long tail) I’m optimizing for. It’s a nice query for searching industry specific directories or blogs.
– (minus sign):
The ‘minus’ command is one I use every day. Both in normal searches and in Google’s Keyword Suggestion Tool. It removes from the search keywords I don’t want to include, helping to filter and refine the search.
The ‘pipe’ command simply adds the ‘OR’ operator to the search. If I want to view an industries forums or blog, I’d search ‘forum | blog’. Obviously, I’d add a industry specific keyword to find forums or blogs specific to the client I’m working with.
Feedback: What other Custom Searches do you use? Either in everyday searches or for specific SEO tasks?