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What are search operators?

Search operators are specific commands that can be used in the search engines to further refine the search results. They have been around since the early days of the Internet. The search operators are intended to provide even more appropriate results in searches.

  • These days they are usually not mandatory
  • Consist of certain characters which are added to the query
  • There are both simple and advanced search operators

What are the search operators for?

Search operators are quite useful commands to filter and refine search engine results. Most search engines support the same search operators, but also have their own unique operators. Other data rich applications like Twitter and email apps like Apples Mail app also support different search operators. You can do many things with these operators, such as “filter out”. Adding the minus sign in front of a word will exclude results that refer to that word. So if you use a hyphen in front of a word or website, websites with this information will be excluded from your results. This is useful for words with multiple meanings, such as Jaguar, the brand of car, and Jaguar, the animal. You can also link with the operator, for example: to find pages that link to a specific page. The Site: operator, on the other hand, returns results from specific sites or domains. If you enclose a word or phrase in quotation marks, the results will only include pages containing the same words in the same order as the pages in quotation marks. Use this option only if you are searching for an exact word or phrase. Such search operators are powerful and can save searchers a lot of time, especially since most operators can be used together. Multiple search operators within the same Google search are therefore easily possible. Search operators are powerful, but can also be specific. When using search operators, dont include a space after a colon. The most important search operators (and their use for search engine optimization) can be found in many guides on the Internet.

Search operators as useful helpers

The plus sign links several keywords. It helps the search engines to return results that include all these words. This special search operator is actually not used anymore, because the space character does the same job. Nevertheless this search operator still works very well. You can use the “OR” operator OR or the vertical bar to search for pages that may use one of several words. In addition, there is the asterisk symbol *- which nowadays is in principle automatically applied by Google Suggest. If you didnt know other words, you used the * operator often and gladly to get other combinations that matched the corresponding term. This search is often called Wildcard Search. Even more interesting are the so-called advanced search operators, because they are useful for various SEO tasks. They can be used, for example, to find out how many pages a search engine like Google has in its index from a certain domain. Such search operators can be combined flexibly and are very useful for SEO audits, content research and content creation. You can also limit the search results to a special file type (pdf, png, jpg etc.). Using the search operator location: you can search in a desired environment. Today this is actually quite superfluous, since Google & Co. also provide location relevant results anyway. With the operator cache: the cache version of the respective website is displayed – i.e. the latest indexed version. Other interesting search operators are for example “author:”, which is used to search for authors, or the operator “source:”, which is used to filter specifically for news. The quotation mark is one of the most frequently used search operators. Its use is often useful, for example, when searching for the author of a particular quotation. If such search operators are used, the result is usually a completely different ranking. For search engine optimization, all these operators are in principle not excessively important because they are used by only a limited number of users on the net

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