Google Search Operators Cheat Sheet for Content Marketing

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Advanced Google search

By Jason Knapfel

If you’re an online marketer, you know the game is constantly evolving. It’s also continually getting more difficult to shortcut your way to results. For that reason, you need to utilize as many approaches as possible to reach your goals.

Google can be leveraged much more effectively if you go beyond simple word-based search. This is especially true when you’re looking for inbound link opportunities and content research.

Here are some advanced Google search operators and how you can utilize them in your various content marketing efforts:

keyword site:domain

Using “site:” in your query will restrict search results to just that domain. For content writers researching a topic, this can be useful if you want to find information from a particular news source but don’t have the URL(s) at your disposal. Example: diabetes research


Finds web pages with the keyword(s) in the title.

What if you’ve been tasked with writing website content for a client who is involved in an industry you are not familiar with? One of the more obvious approaches is to look at competitor websites. Your client can simply give you their competitors’ websites as a reference. But not all sites will be set up the like yours, and it can make your life a whole lot easier if you can find inspiration from sites that have at least some navigation in common.

If you are writing a page for a structural engineering company’s services, you may want to search intitle:Structural Renovations, or better yet, allintitle:Structural Renovations, which will only give you results that have both words in the title. Another variation may be Structural Renovations intitle:services if the site navigation is set up where all the company’s services are on one page.

inanchor:keyword or allinanchor:keywords

Want to find information that other sites think is trustworthy? That’s what the value of inbound links is all about anyway, so use one of Google’s biggest SEO trust factors to your advantage. Place a word or phrase (with allinanchor:) after this operator to see which web pages have anchor texts with those words in them.

inpostauthor:Author’s Name

Are there industry authors who produce beneficial content? Why not find all the sites where they share their wisdom? This can be a great way to discover guest posting opportunities as well.

The Minus Sign

While doing a search with the plus sign is fairly well known, you can also remove words or phrases from your search results. If you are researching the New York Mets or anything else related to New York baseball other than the ever-present Yankees, you can exclude them from your search by simply typing New York baseball -Yankees.

* (asterisks)

Used to fill in the blank of a half-remembered phrase. Useful for quotes or wise anecdotes. Fortunately, in this case, Google is really good about suggesting what you are looking for anyway.

Keyword filetype:PDF

If you’re researching a topic that may be conducive to special file formats, such as a PDF, you can isolate results to just that.

Returns sites Google deems related to that domain.

You can get the aforementioned related content and more with the info: operator, including:

  • Google’s cache (what pages from the site have been indexed by Google)
  • Web pages that are similar to
  • Web pages that link to
  • Web pages from the site
  • Web pages that contain the term “”

Using info: is a nice way to get a better understanding of your subject matter and/or competition, all in one quick search operator.

There are plenty of other search operators and variations on those mentioned. But if you’re looking for a more effective and efficient way to find the information you need, this is a good place to start.