Finding just the right keywords is something that SEO professionals know a lot about. It is their job to find the words that are going to bring the best results, the most information and exactly what they want to know. Figuring out just the right keywords can take hours of research. But there’s more to the story than that.
Search engines have advanced search operators that skilled SEO professionals use to narrow down their search and zero in on the hidden tidbits of info that is gleaned from the most extensive searches. Here are some of the most popular search query operators for you to incorporate into your next advanced search.
1. Use quotes with your search.
Examples: “cat food”, “cat” food, or “cat” “food”
The use of the quotation marks is what directs the Google search to aim only for that word or words exactly as they appear. Everyone has done a search where the words that you were searching for showed up but were separated so you were not getting the response that you needed.
In the examples above you would get back information on cat food for the first search, information on a cat and some kind of food in the second and the last would provide information on cats and cat foods. When you use quotes around your searches you can quickly see which of your competitors are popping right up.
When you do a random search for cat food you will get everything that’s available which in this case are 432 million results.
Using the quotation marks you will get the exact words you are looking for and your search is narrowed down to 3.47 million results, still a large amount but a fraction of the search without the use of quotes.
Examples: site:website.com or site: website.com “search term” When you add the URL with “site” it will show you the pages that Google has indexed using that URL. This will let you see how many pages have actually been published based on how many have been indexed. It will also let you see how the page is presented along with the description of the page.
When you add in “search term” it will let you know when those words have been indexed and what the purpose of their search was. This is also a good way to find strong keywords you can use for your website.
3. Link: <url>
Examples: link:website.com or link:website.com/inner1 Originally, a search like this would provide you with all the pages that have links to the URL listed but Google has changed their policy and it is no longer available. Now you will only receive a sample of the sites that have links to the URL you have used in your search. For a more comprehensive list you will need to utilize Google Webmaster Tools.
Using this query operator you will be able to see a snapshot of the incoming links that are going to your site. You can use this query operator to see which links are going to your competitor. You won’t be able to see all of the incoming links without access to their Tools account but you will at least get some idea of some of their links which should help you with your site plan.
Other tools are available but there are fees involved for their use; these include: Ahrefs, Open Site Explorer, and Majestic SEO. If you don’t mind paying for them you will be able to get a complete view of the link profile from each URL search. Using the free query operators will work using Yahoo and Bing.
4. Info: <url>
Examples: info:website.com or info:website.com/inner1 This info: search can only be used with Google; it is not valid with Yahoo! or Bing. When you use the info: operator you will receive some comprehensive information include the title of the page, the description, and a view of the following:
- Any pages that have a content that is similar to the URL
- The last cache that has been retrieved of the URL
- Any pages that link from the website
- Any pages that link directly to the URL
- Any pages that may have the URL in them
These types of searches are able to arm you with enough information to get enough data for the campaign you may be working on. You can also use this information to get ahead of your competitor.
5. Intitle:”search term”
Example: intitle:”cat food” This operator is invaluable in confirming that you are using the best keywords that are available. Making sure that the title tag of your page is optimized is important as well as finding out who else is using certain keywords. The intitile operator will let you see everyone who is using the keywords so you can get an idea of how tough the competition is.
You can see if a major company like Amazon or any other big businesses are showing up in the top 10 results of your search. When you find the big companies on this list you will know that unless you have as much money to work with as a mega-corporation you may as well adjust your plan of action and seek out different keywords.
When you use this operator you can find and compare keywords that are similar so you can make your adjustments and still remain competitive with the smaller companies you are on the same level with.
When you work as an SEO professional it is your job to know how to use the right words to get the information you need to help your clients increase their rankings and build the traffic for their website. Helping their clients continue to make their way to the top of the search results is the main focus.
When someone uses a keyword that pertains to your business you want your website to be right there in the first few results. Anything past the first page rarely gets clicked on. Gaining access to the same techniques that the SEO pros use are tools that can help you get your website up in the rankings and beyond your competition.