The what, how and why of Google advanced search operators (or, search queries if you prefer)

The what, how and why of Google advanced search operators (or, search queries if you prefer)

Remember what life was like before Google? No, neither do we, but we’ve heard finding stuff out was a lot harder back then (especially before Google advanced search operators!). Apparently, you had to go in person to an actual library if you wanted information on anything.
 
Thankfully, those dark times are a thing of the distant past. In 2006 the Oxford English Dictionary added ‘Google’ as a verb, thereby confirming its status as ‘All-Knowing Library of the Universe”. Finding out anything has never been easier. Sort of.
 
Want to know more about best practice B2B SEO? Download our free eBook now.
 
If you’re looking for the ultimate Christmas pudding recipe or vintage bicycles in Woodstock, no problem. But let’s say you’re after link building opportunities because you heard it’s a good way to increase your website’s authority.
 
Just Googling ‘link building opportunities’ isn’t going to cut it. You’ll get page after page of results, but almost none of them will pertain to your specific niche. If you’re a personal trainer, for example, scoring a link from a needlepoint website is of zero value to you.
 
To get the right results you need to become fluent in Google advanced search operators – also called advanced search queries. Think of it as English with a slightly code-y (read: awkward) twist. No need to panic, we’ve listed a bunch of them below, so all you have to do is copy and paste them into the Google search bar. You’re welcome.
 
Your search results will vary depending on your keyword (the more niche your keyword, the fewer results you’ll get back) and the query you choose. You know, just in case you’re wondering why {Handstitched veldskoene} "guest post" returns only one paltry page.
 
Here are a few Google advanced search operators you can use in your quest for links: 
 
  • Keyword + intitle:“write for us”
  • Keyword + intitle:“contribute to”
  • Keyword + intitle:“submit” + inurl:blog 
This search combines your keyword with information found in the title tag. In case you’re wondering, the title tag is the blue underlined text that shows in search engine result pages.
 
  • inpostauthor:guest + keyword
  • inpostauthor:“guest blog” + keyword
  • inpostauthor:“guest post” + keyword 
Here, you can filter search results by the author name to find out if a website accepts unsolicited pitches. That’s a snooty way of saying they’ll consider publishing your guest post. You can also use this operator to find out where else a competitor has scored link building opportunities. Just replace “guest blog” with <competitor name>.
 
  • inurl:write-for-us + keyword
  • inurl:category/guest + keyword
By this point you should be getting the hang of it, but in case you’re a slow learner (or creative): this type of search will combine your keyword with information found in the URL. You know what that is, right?
 
  • related:mindbodygreen.com
This last search is for when you’re looking for other websites in the same niche as the one you’ve already scored a link from. Mindbodygreen.com is an example (obvs), just replace it.
 
Remember though, while a lot of websites are open to publishing great content from thought leaders, not all of them offer followed links. For the purposes of link building, the link needs to be followed. So, make sure it is before you hand over your hard work.
 
If you don’t know your Google advanced search operators from your title tags, give us a shout – we do, and we’re great at securing high quality links that help our clients rank higher and sell more.

Comments