Advanced Search Operators for Yahoo, Bing and Google

When you search, do you find exactly what you’re looking for the first time?

Advanced search operators let you extract everything the engine knows about a specific subject efficiently.

These tricks of the trade can definitely save you time, especially if you’re doing any kind of competitor analysis or SEO research.

Soon you’ll be searching like a pro as you learn:

What Are Search Engine Operators?

Search operators are a prefix or addition to a query in Google or Bing that limits the results set. They work like customizable filters.

The results page you get back provides entirely different results than the average search.

Example 1: “advanced search tips”

One common operation is to use quotation marks (“) to match an exact phrase. So searching for “advanced search tips” (with the quotes) finds only pages that have those words together as a phrase.

Duplicate content is a problem for SEO. So use exact match searches to find any sites that have copied your content.

Why Should I Use a Search Operator?

Search marketing professionals routinely use search operators to filter results from a search engine.

These advanced search skills let you easily:

  • Locate something specific online
  • Research a site you’re optimizing
  • Investigate the competitive field

When you get comfortable with a few of these commands, you can find what you’re looking for much faster.

How Do I Use Advanced Search Operators?

You enter search operators in the search bar along with your regular query, but with some modifications.

Be sure to type the operator next to your query text with no space.

Example 2: siloing

The site: prefix lets you find content within a certain website. In this example, site: tells the search engine you want to browse a particular domain, is the domain, and siloing is the topic you are interested in finding.

Your results would look something like the screenshot below. Google found 363 pages about siloing on

Example 3: It’s often useful to search for a longer phrase within a particular website. You can combine the operators site: and ” “ such as:

Google site search animation

This search found 157 pages. Without the quotation marks, the query would bring back way too many results. The engine would find pages about voice or search — so nearly all the pages on our site!

Bing and Google Search Operator Documentation

Each search engine has its own set of advanced search operators. Here’s the official documentation from the two major search engines for your reference:

List of Advanced Search Operators for SEO (Cheat Sheet)

In the table below, you’ll find the search engine operators that we routinely use in SEO research. (This is not an all-inclusive list.)

Click to see the operators cheat sheet as a PDF and print it for reference!

Google Bing Result
cache: Shows the version of the webpage from Google’s cache.
contains: Finds webpages that contain links to a particular type of file (such as pdf, mp3). This function is unique to Bing.
ext: ext: Returns only webpages with the file extension you specify (such as htm).
filetype: filetype: Finds results of a single type only (such as pdf).
info: Presents some information that Bing has about a webpage such as related pages from the site, external pages talking about the webpage, and related results.
intext: Shows pages that contain a specific word in their body text.
intitle: intitle: Finds pages that include a specific word as part of the indexed title tag.
allintitle: Finds pages that include all query words as part of the indexed title tag.
inurl: Finds pages that include a specific keyword in their indexed URLs.
allinurl: Finds a specific URL in the search engine’s index. Also can be used to find pages whose URLs contain all the specified words.
related: related: Finds webpages that are similar to the specified webpage.
site: site: Restricts the search to pages within a particular domain and all its subdomains.
* * Acts like a wildcard that can take the place of any word or phrase. Example: tallest * in the world
Excludes results that contain the word following the minus sign. Place this operation at the end of your search query.
” “ ” “ Finds instances of the exact text within the quotation marks everywhere it appears in the search engine’s index.

cheat sheet thumbnail for download
Click to get this search operators cheat sheet as a printable PDF.

Search Operators Used in SEO Research

Here I’ll share more ways to use the search commands for SEO research. In the examples below, the search query is in italics.

To Analyze the Competition

Example 4:

The related: operator gives you a glimpse of competitor content.

You’ll see a small selection of what Google considers to be similar. Then you can analyze their SEO metrics — including word count, keyword use, meta data and inbound links — so that you can make your page equal to and then better than its competition.

Example 5: allintitle:seo blog

This query brings up webpages that have both “SEO” and “blog” in their metadata title. We could use this in order to find competing blogs to our own.

The search operators allintitle: and intitle: let you find pages using your keywords in title tags.

Similarly, the commands allinurl: and inurl: let you identify the competition that use keywords in URLs. (Note that as of this writing, the intitle: command works in both Google and Bing searches, but allintitle:, allinurl: and inurl: work only in Google.)

Example 6: cache:

The cache: command shows you a search engine’s cached version of a page. It’s a way to check how the search engine actually sees your page.

Cache shows what page content the search engine considers relevant to retrieve, making this Google search operator a valuable SEO diagnostic tool.

To Find Information About a Specific Page or Site

Example 7:

Using the info: command in Bing gives you results that seem like a collection of these advanced search operators. It’s a one-stop shop to access a variety of onsite and offsite results about a website.

Note: Google deprecated the info: operator in 2017.

To Discover Indexing Problems

Your site must be in the search engine’s index. That’s square one for SEO.

Example 8:

A site: command shows how many pages the search engine has indexed. Though the total number of results is only an approximation, it is a quick way to find out if you have an indexing problem — either too few or too many pages in the index.

Example 9:*

Specify a particular subfolder of your site to see how many pages it contains. For instance, adding the wildcard * finds all pages under the /blog/.

To Help with Site Maintenance

Along with doing SEO research, you can employ advanced search techniques to make site maintenance easier.

Example 10: contains:pdf

The contains: Bing search operator gives you a powerful tool to find links within a site that point to a particular type of file. For example, the query above lets you locate every page on your site that has a link to a PDF file.

To Further Refine Results

Example 11: cats -musical

A minus sign (-) before a keyword removes any results with that word. Again, it’s a way to help filter results when a query might otherwise be ambiguous. If you’re looking for info about cats the animal, but there’s a showing of Cats the musical in your town, you can search cats -musical to remove results about the theater production.

Example 12: intitle:keyword

You can use the minus sign (-) before a search command, too. The above example finds webpages that have your keyword in the title tag, excluding those on your own site. This reduces the clutter when doing competitor research.

Did you like this advanced search operators guide?
We’re full of tips for search marketing. (It’s what we do!) Learn more ways to improve your SEO, PPC and overall ROI by subscribing to our blog.

Virginia Nussey is the director of marketing at MobileMonkey. Prior to joining this startup in 2018, Virginia was the operations and content manager at Bruce Clay, Inc., having joined the company in 2008 as a writer and blogger. Head over to her author page to connect on social.

See Virginia's author page for links to connect on social media.

Comments (24)
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24 Replies to “Advanced Search Operators for Yahoo, Bing and Google”

Superb post and interesting too!!!
Thanks for such a useful resource sharing with us !!!!

Hi Virginia Nussey,

I really enjoyed reading this article and after reading your article, I found out that there are other ways better to do a search on search engines google, yahoo and bing. I’ll come back to this website.

Virginia Nussey

So stoked to hear you learned something, Sharing! ;)

Great List, I have used most of them. One can also combine multiple operators to get more backlink opportunities. For example inurl:/seo/

It will display all posts that contain seo as a category in url.

Also you can use url modifiers to get results as you want.

&tbs=qdr:s – Results from past sec

&tbs=qdr:n – Results from past minute

&tbs=qdr:h – Results from past hour

&tbs=qdr:d – Results from past day

&tbs=qdr:w – Results from past week

&tbs=qdr:m – Results from past month

&tbs=qdr:y – Results from past year

Thanks for sharing, my favorite search operator when doing outreach to find relevant links is keyword intext:guest post and keyword intext:guest post

Impressive contents related to the operator guidance. I really like the way you express the contents In & OUT. Keep it up :)

Hi Virginia Nussey ,
This is very effective article , i see .
Many of users do not know about the search operators that is really helpful to search most effective terms and get the expected results hopefully .

Virginia Nussey

Yes Samdani! Thank you! Hope your searching life got an upgrade!

Useful information. I loved the way you described. Thanks.

Nice article – a lot more useful than a plain list and cuts out all the rubbish :)

Virginia Nussey

Thanks, David! Glad you like!

Thanks for sharing vital information with us.

Virginia Nussey

I try, Sumi!

Post shared here is very useful post and still day i have not did advance search after reading the post, going to use advance search options

interesting recommendation will follow you from now on

This blog has inspired me to start my own blog. I loved the way you described your experiences throughout.

Nice list, one search operator I find useful when trying to access SEO competition is allintitle:”insert keyword inside quotes” and it will bring up the number of results that have used the exact keyword inside their page title meta tag, if you don’t see any big authority sites on page 1 of those results and there’s less than 100 results you can easily rank for it with a well optimized article and 1 or 2 links.

Very Informative!
All at one place, i got. I have been searching for all these operators to help my client in SEO for his blog.

Hey would you mind letting me know which webhost you’re utilizing? I’ve loaded your blog in 3 completely different web browsers and I must say this blog loads a lot faster then most. Can you suggest a good internet hosting provider at a honest price? Thank you,I appreciate it! SEO Company

Paula Allen

Ziw: PixelSilk is the host. We have tried to optimize our blog for page load speed across browsers, so your comment made our IT manager’s day! :)

It is really great to use the query in the article. It helps us raise a lot of money and find exactly what you’re looking for the first time. In the artitle many of the queries i have never to know about them,but i will study it following this article. Thanks for your sharing.

I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that I have really enjoyed reading your blog posts. Any way I’ll be subscribing to your feed and I hope you post again soon.

Hi Virginia Nussey,
Great tips to spy the existing webpages and to better On-page optimization.
I really enjoyed to read this advanced search options article and also recommend people to follow this techniques or better optimization.

allintitle: and allinurl: are really good options. But we can also use AND operators to do the same. Example; intitle:seo AND intitle:Keyword AND intitle:research should give the same results. AND & OR operators are really useful in this regard.
This is a really good post and anyone wants to learn Google operator search will be benefited from this post.

Soumya Roy
Digital Marketing & SEO Coach

Comments are closed

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