Back in the early days of telephones, when placing a call, you would hear an operator on the other end of the line ask “number please.” Once you gave her the number you were trying to reach, she would connect you through a switch board to the party you are trying to call.
Google uses similar operators when you are trying to receive specific results for a search query. They are called “Search Operators.” Search operators provide some great info and research for SEO purposes. A search operator is used in the search field and is a command word followed by a colon.
Following are some of the search operators used and their purpose. I’ll use iboats in each of these search operators as an example.
site:iboats.com – This displays all the pages that Google has indexed for iboats.com. This search produced 3,040,000 results for iboats.com.
allinanchor:boat covers – Allinanchor limits results to pages which have inbound links with the specified text. This produces a list of web pages which have links containing the words “boat” and “covers.” Allinanchor provides important insight into Google’s ranking algorithm.
allintext:boat covers – Limits the results to pages that contain all the specified text. This displays pages that contain the terms boat covers.
allinurl:boat covers – This limits the results to web pages that contain the specified text in the URL/web page address. This is a useful way to see how your competition is optimizing for the keywords you are targeting. It is also a quick way to see if there are domain opportunities for new SEO strategies.
cache:iboats.com – This displays the indexed version of a web page in Google’s database. It helps to work out which version of a page that Google is referencing when using your content for searches. This cache function provides a great way to see how Google has indexed specific keywords on your web pages. For example, to check the keyword “boat cover” indexed for the web page boatcovers.iboats.com you type in cache:boatcovers.iboats.com “boat covers”. This function will display the Google cached page and highlight in yellow all the “boat covers” terms on that page. This is a good way to compare your keyword placement and density with your competitors.
inachor:boat covers – Is similar to allinanchor except that it will display web pages that have links that contain the first word (or the term you put quotes around) of the query in our inbound links and the other terms with the content of the page.
info:boatcovers.iboats.com – This displays important Google indexing information about the web page. The information displayed includes Google’s cached page, pages that are similar, pages that link to the web page, to find pages from the site and pages that contain the term “boatcovers.iboats.com.”
These are just a few of the search operators that are most relevant to SEO which give the greatest insight into how Google looks at your web pages.