10 Google Operators for Advanced Search I Use Daily (and You Should Too)

While using Google as a searcher but also as a search engine aka website optimizer I apply so called advanced search operators which in fact aren’t that advanced once you know them.

Still most people don’t use them. You know once you check your website referrers. Most people do not use any operators at all!

What is an operator in the first place? It’s just a command that makes Google look for more exact matches of what you want.

Thus I want to show you the Google operators I use daily to get better search results faster:

Exact search allows you to find sentences and expression whereas simple search just cuts out everything in between.

Often it changes the results significantly even without dropping words! Compare these two:
obama muslim vs “obama muslim”.

– (minus)
Compare these searches: spears vs spears -britney

Search on a site. Consider this example site:whitehouse.gov miserable failure

In cases where it does not matter which word you choose but you want to find both due to slight differences, use OR:

drilling mccain OR obama – not to mix up with a query like [mccain or obama]

viagra OR levitra – here you do not ask which one is better as in “Viagra or Levitra?” but you want to search both to choose from.

When a site is down or has been changed recently, a search like cache:site.com will unearth the last version saved by Google on their servers

Consider a search query like: seo book filetype:pdf

Only documents which contain some or all of the keywords in the internet address

Only documents which contain some or all of the keywords in the title of the page

Just compare the searches for sex, sex* and *sex*

Instead of reading my blog for ages, just search for define:SEO

Using these operators will save you tons of time as searching is done dozens of hundreds of times daily.

30 seconds per search query mean half an hour a day if you search the web 100 times a day (like I do).

Update August 16th, 2011: There is an excellent overview of even more advanced search operators over at Google Guide. Thank you for the link Michalis Nicolaides!