Search

Search Operator Guide for Google, MSN, and Yahoo

Advanced search operators are query words or symbols that perform special actions in a search engine. Google, Yahoo, and MSN all offer Advanced search operators, and the following list attempts to describe what they do and give examples for each search engine.

Google Search Operators

cache:

    Description:
    The cache query returns Google’s cache (or stored copy) of the page you search for, which can be very useful (*if your site is already cached). For example, if you have accidentally deleted the only copy of a web document from your host and hard drive, you can usually retrieve the page from Google’s cache. It usually takes some time to remove the extra markup that has been added, but it can be a life saver at times. The cache query can also give you an idea of how regularly Google is crawling a site. Just look at the “Last cached date”.

    Example:
    Show the cache from www.seologs.com’s home page.
    [cache:www.seologs.com]

    or add a word to highlight a specific term: Show the cache from www.seologs.com’s home page and highlight the word “seo”.
    [cache:www.seologs.com seo]

info:

    Description:
    The Info query returns basic information about a specific web page. From this query, you get links to the entered web page, Google’s cache of that page, similar sites, sites that link to that page, other pages from the site, and sites that contain the site’s name.

    The info query can quickly let you know whether or not a site is in Google’s index. This applies to new sites and banned sites.
    Examples:
    Find out more information about any site by searching for the domain.
    [info:seologs.com]

link:

    Description:
    The link: query lists web pages that have links to the specified single page. It’s the LEAST useful for finding links. Why?

    – The search only shows a small “sample” of the actual links to a site or page.
    – No linkdomain search. Can only search links to one page at a time.

    Examples::
    Find pages that link to the seologs.com home page.
    [link:seologs.com]

related:

    Description:
    The related: query will list sites that are similar or related to a specified web site.

    This can be kind of useful to find related sites and pages.
    Examples:
    Find sites related to “seologs.com.
    [related:seologs.com]

site:

    Description:
    The site query returns a list of all pages from the specified site that exist in Google’s index. Domains and directories up to a few levels deep are allowed.

    Since Google has the most pages indexed, it’s site search is extremely useful.
    Examples:
    Find all pages for the specified site.
    [site:www.seologs.com]

    Looking for some good content? Find all pages on Apple.com in the /trailers directory
    [site:apple.com/trailers]

    There’s lots of free stuff lying around if you just look in the right places. This search finds all free “productivity tools” downloads from Apple.com
    [site:apple.com/downloads/macosx/productivity_tools/ "License:" "Freeware"]

allinanchor:

    Description:
    The allinanchor search restricts results to pages containing all query terms you specify in the anchor text on links to the page.

    Example:
    [allinanchor:seo tools] will return only pages in which the anchor text on links to the pages contain the words “seo” and “tools”

    The same result can be achieved with the inanchor query, using: [intitle:seo intitle:tool]

allintitle:

    Description:
    The allintitle query returs pages where the title contains ALL of the terms that you specified.

    This query is very helpful to find out how competitive a certain search term is.

    Examples:
    How many pages include the words “free”, “seo”, and “tools” in their title (it’s a good indicator of how many sites are actively trying to rank for these terms) [allintitle:free seo tools]

    The same result can be achieved with the intitle query, using: [intitle:free intitle:seo intitle:tools]

    Variations:
    Use with quotes around words to see a list of sites with the exact phrase “free seo tools” in the title.
    [allintitle:"free seo tools"]

    Combine with the site: operator to narrow results to a specific site.
    [allintitle:seo tools site:seologs.com]

allinurl:

    Description:
    The allinurl query will return only pages that contain the specified words in the url.

    This search is very useful, but one drawback for the is that it works on words only, and it ignores punctuation. You cant search for exact urls, so [allinurl: seo/tools] will return results for pages with the words “seo” and “tools” in the url, but doesn’t require that they be separated by a slash within that url, or that they be in any particular order.

    Examples:
    Find all pages that have “seo-tools” in the url.
    [inurl:seo-tools]

    Find pages with “photography” and “forum” in the title. (find photography forums)
    [allinanchor:photography forum]

inurl:

MSN Search Operators

LinkFromDomain:

    Description:
    The LinkFromDomain operator returns all sites that are linked to from the specified domain. This is a great way to make sure that you aren’t linking to any sites that you don’t want to be linking to.

    Useful for:
    The new LinkFromDomain operator should prove to be extremely useful for webmasters who are looking to keep track of which sites they are linking to.

    Examples:
    Find all sites linked to by seologs.com.
    [LinkFromDomain:seologs.com]

    Variations:
    The LinkFromDomain operator plays well with other can also be combined with other MSN search operators to make it even more useful.

    Show the specific Goole.com that seologs.com links to.
    LinkFromDomain:seologs.com site:google.com

    Reciprocal Linking Check: Who does a site reciprocally link to (trade links with)? Show sites that seologs.com links to that also link back to seologs.com.
    [linkfromdomain:seologs.com linkdomain:seologs.com]

    Am I linking indirectly to a specified site? or, which sites do I link to, that link to a specified site.
    In this example, which sites does seologs.com link to that link to the site seorefugee.com?
    [LinkFromDomain:seologs.com linkdomain:seorefugee.com]

link:

LinkDomain:

site:

    Description:
    Finds pages on a specified site. Domains and directories up to two levels deep are allowed.

    Examples:
    Find all pages from the domain seologs.com:
    [site:seologs.com]

    Find all pages in the edu domain (all sites with the .EDU tld)
    [site:edu]

    Variations:
    Find all .EDU sites that link to seologs.com.
    [site:edu linkdomain:seologs.com]

    Find pages from .EDU sites only that contain the word “Blog” [site:edu blog]

    or even better, find all .EDU sites that contain the word “blog” in the url [site:edu inurl:blog]

ip:

    Description:
    Finds pages hosted at a specific IP address
    Example:
    ip:208.97.175.111

    Finds pages hosted at 208.97.175.111

loc: or location:

    Description:
    Finds pages from a specific country or region specified by a country/region code.
    Example:
    Find pages located in the Spain (ES)
    [loc:ES]

Filetype:

    Description:
    Finds documents based on their particular filetype. Supports: html, txt, and pdf, as well as: doc, rtf, xls, and ppt for Word, Excel, and PowerPoint documents.

    Example:
    Find pdf files that contain the term 1040 (the official IRS 1040 for US Taxes)
    1040 filetype:pdf

InURL:

    Description:
    The allinurl query will return only pages that contain the specified words in the url. Like Google, it works on words only, and it ignores punctuation. So you cant search for exact urls like “seo/tools.html”.

    Example:
    Find sites with the words “seo” and “tools” in the url.
    [inurl:seo inurl:tools]

InURL:, InAnchor:, InTitle:, InBody:
These new MSN operators don’t take multi-word phrases (yet) — for example, to find pages that use “SEO Tools” as the anchor text, you’ll need to use [inAnchor:SEO inAnchor:Tools].

InAnchor:

    Description:
    Returns pages with the specified term in the visible text of a hyperlink.

    Example:
    Find pages with containing “seo” and “tools” in the anchor text of links to those pages.

    InAnchor:seo InAnchor:tools

InTitle:

    Description:
    Finds pages with the term in the page title
    Example:
    Finds pages with the words “seo” and “tools” in the its $lt;TITLE> tag
    [intitle:seo intitle:tools]

InBody:

    Description:
    Finds pages with the term in the body tex

    Example:
    Find pages with “seo tools” in the $lt;BODY> text
    inbody:”seo tools”

contains:

    Description:
    Finds pages with links to files with the specified extension

    Example:
    Here’s a useful search to find free SEO ebooks. Find all pages containing a pdf file and that contain the words “free”, “seo”, and “book”.
    [contains:pdf free seo book]

Yahoo Search Operators

The main Yahoo search operator queries (site:, link:, and linkdomain) now lead to Yahoo Site Explorer, but they can still be used with compound queries. See examples.

site:, link:, and linkdomain:

    Description:
    All 3 of these searches now redirect to Yahoo’s Site Explorer tool. Currently, tool is probably the best for finding all links to a page or domain, with MSN’s linkdomain: and link: queries coming in 2nd.

    However, these searches can still be used when combined with other searches.

    Example:
    Find all .EDU sites linking to seologs.com.
    [linkdomain:seologs.com site:edu]

    Find all pages with “forums” in the url, linking to seologs.com”
    [linkdomain:seologs.com inurl:forums]

inurl:

    Description:
    This will allow you to find a specific keyword as part of indexed urls. Works the same as Google and MSN.

    Example:
    Find sites with seologs in the url.
    [inurl:seologs]

intitle:

    Description:
    This allows one to find a specific keyword as part of the indexed titles in the Yahoo. Works the same as Google and MSN.

    Example:
    Find pages with the words “seo” and “tools” in the title.
    [intitle:SEO intitle:tools]



3 Responses to “Search Operator Guide for Google, MSN, and Yahoo”

  1. Gary Heier Says:

    thanks for the helpful information. it is veru useful for a newbie like me..



  2. SEO Tyler Dewitt Says:

    Thanks so much, I always found this type of information usable, and I think im going to write about it on my blog.



  3. Suma Says:

    Thanks a lot from me, too. It`s also useful for non-newbie`s :)