To unleash the true power of Google with a touch of a keyboard stroke using tips and tricks with Google advanced search operators will not only save time (if you are searching Google on regular basis that is) but it can also make you find things that you otherwise thought were not there, or perhaps, make you quickly sift through the noise Google search results often brings.
For you to master Google searching, you must answer this question as clear as possible “what is it exactly that I am looking for? And, what information can I search Google with to find that” because Google allows you the option to search its database with its Advanced Search, and knowing how Google stores information, and knowing where to look for it is the key for mastering Google.
So let us now examine couple of images for us to understand how Advanced Search Option works:
If we simply filled the option fields with these settings as in the above image, then that is basically saying this to Google to do, please notice the text that is highlighted in red, because then you can easily understand what is actually going on.
- as_q= basically a stands for advanced, s stands for search, and q stands for query (it begins the search)
- &as_epq= & stands for Append, a stands for advanced, s stands for search, e stands for exact, p stands for phrase and q stands for query
- &as_oq= this is the OR operator, as in OR query
- &as_eq= this is the – minus operator, as in exclude query
- &as_nlo= (works with number range) this specifies the number low range, and this &as_nhi= specifies number high range (you can actually see it if you take a closer look at the letters)
Looking at these tips and tricks will allow you to construct search queries better than 90% of the internet population who search Google. But, why settle for less, when you can have more;
I will now explain what these mean so you can reference it, and then I will show you the most important ones that I have found to be useful along my many years of Google tinkering.
&lr=language restriction, since Google is a Global search engine, you can restrict your search when you want to find something depending on its language. The format is lang_en (would be English) or lang_ja and so on, and you can append the syntax as such: &lr=lang_en Google uses Language Codes according to ISO 639-1 and covers most of them.
&cr= country restriction, this advanced query syntax will tell Google to restrict results by country. It takes the format of &cr=countryAL (would search by country Albania; &cr=countryAU (Australia); countryNP (Nepal); countryUS (United States) and so on, here’s full list of countries
&as_qdr= query date range. The date range can take the format of: 24 hours is day (d), week (w), month (m) and a year (y). Sample example would be:
You can also add numbers to make it more interesting, for example:
- &as_qdr=d4 (that would tell Google you are looking for something within four days)
- &as_qdr=w3 (that would tell Google you are looking for something within 3 weeks)
- &as_qdr=m6 (that would tell Google you are looking for something within six month)
- &as_qdr=y3 (that would tell Google you are looking for something within 3 years etc.)
Site or Domain:
&as_sitesearch= this is quite interesting if you want to search for things on a particular website. Let us say you are looking for seo insights on my blog, then you would construct this query:
&as_occt= we now know the anatomy of a web page as Google sees it, therefore, using this advanced operator, you can tell Google to search for terms occurrence on a particular section of a web document. It takes the format as:
- &as_occt=title (it also corresponds with allintitle:)
- &as_occt=body (it also corresponds with allintext:)
- &as_occt=url (it also corresponds with allinurl:)
- &as_occt=links (links that point with the terms you are searching. It also corresponds with allinanchor:)
&safe= prevents adult content from appearing in your search results, (format is &safe=images or &safe_search=active) You can read more about safe search here
Reading level basically is what Google thinks as : how easy it is to read it? Is it basic web document with minimal content, or is it intermediate (meaning plenty of content) or is it advanced (meaning research papers, or academic articles etc.)
- &tbs=rl:1,rls:0 (basic)
- &tbs=rl:1,rls:1 (intermediate)
- &tbs=rl:1,rls:2 (advanced)
&as_filetype= this one is no doubt one of the best ones when you want to save time, because at times a webmaster may create documents and upload it to their server. The format for using this advanced search operator is &as_filetype:pdf or &as_filetype:xls etc. (some of the file types you can play around with are: htm, html, php, and other HTML file extensions. Microsoft: doc, docx, ppt, pptx, xls, xlsx. Also, txt, text, xml …) more can be found on this page)
This is all to do with permissions and copyright issues. I’m not going to write the syntax here, but you can read more about creative commons it here
Google Search Tips and Tricks
Up until now I have tried to describe the way Google Advanced search works, and as you can imagine you are still limited to explore these advanced query syntax’s using the advanced search interface Google provides you. But, you can use the address bar of your favorite internet browser and search Google through it. For example:
This basic example may perhaps be accomplished by using regular search interface, but what if I wanted to quickly see results from the past day? Or past 3 days, then I would do this:
- https://www.google.com/search?as_q=SEO+insights&as_epq=useful information&as_qdr=d
- https://www.google.com/search?as_q=SEO+insights&as_epq=useful information&as_qdr=d3
Searching Through The Address Bar Examples
As I’ve said earlier on, you first need to sit back and think through what it is exactly you are looking for, then, understanding what file format it may be in (e.g. HTML, PDF, Word etc.) is a good start
- Example 1 = https://www.google.com/search?as_oq=Yahoo+Google&as_epq=market share&as_qdr=w2&as_filetype=pdf
- Example 2 = https://www.google.com/search?as_oq=Google+Adwords&as_epq=Market&q=-inurl:wikipedia.org&as_qdr=w2&as_q=inurl:.edu/&lr=lang_en&cr=countryAU
Searching Through The Search Box Examples
- inurl:Conversion Optimisation intext:”answering the search query” -inurl:google
- how to seo your own “website” -intext:”yahoo”
- become a SEO “specialist” OR expert inurl:google.com
As you can see now, you are only limited to your own imagination to find whatever you want online (it is there in Google data-centers) all you have to do is get the basics as I tried to explain to you, and bit of practise can make you truly find anything you want within the 70+ trillions of web documents Google has in its index, and it is Advanced Search Operators that gives you that power.