You probably use Google on a daily basis for your research, whether it is personal or related to your professional activity.
But are you sure you are harnessing the full potential of the world’s largest search engine, especially for your marketing intelligence?
Today, we’re going to see how Google search operators can help you monitor your competition and the topics that interest you in order to get inspiration for your marketing content.
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The “site” operator
The most basic of all Google operators is “site”.
By placing it in front of the name of the site of your choice, you will only see pages from that same site in the search results: very useful for seeing the publications of a competitor, for example. You can use it to find out how many pages are indexed on a site, for example.
Think about it
Whichever operator is used, be careful not to put a space either before or after the “:”. Otherwise, the search engine will not be able to identify the operator and the search will not be successful.
For the search to be as broad as possible, enter the domain name directly, without “www” upstream. Otherwise, you risk excluding pages linked to subdomains, and thus restrict your search.
However, if the site in question is important, you will still end up with a very long list of results to sift through (over 800,000 for lemonde.fr, for example).
This is why it will be interesting to introduce other search commands.
The operator “intitle”
The “intitle” operator allows you to specify that a search term must be found in the title of the page. It is particularly useful for monitoring web pages on a specific theme or subject. For example :
Only pages whose title contains “marketing” appear.
By way of comparison, the search for “marketing” (without the word “intitle”) gives 1,760,000,000 results: this operator therefore allows you to considerably refine your search. But, on widely used terms, the list of results can turn out to be very long. It is possible to do even better, by specifying other terms.
To do this, you will need to use another operator, a little different. Think about the “allintitle” command, which has the same utility as the previous one, except that it allows you to enter several search terms at the same time:
If you want to know what a particular site has published on a specific subject, it is possible to combine two operators (for example “intitle” and “site”):
You can thus obtain very fine results (440 in our example), in order to find only relevant pages.
The “intext” operator
Like intitle, “intext” allows you to select pages containing a search term in the body of their text.
It is an operator which turns out to be less relevant for a research which wants to be very precise. Nevertheless, it is good to know that it exists.
It also has a variant (“allintext”) allowing you to search for several words:
Finally, it can also be combined with “site” for more precision:
The quotation marks
If you are looking for a phrase and want to know which pages use the exact same phrase (with the same word order, etc.), quotes are the best solution:
The “before” and “after” operators
These operators are useful for obtaining results based on their release date.
- To find a match before a specific date, use the “before” operator.
- To find a page published after the date entered, you will need to use “after”.
By way of example, if you want to find a page published by the Le Monde site, before February 2021, here is the search that you will have to type: “site: lemonde.fr after: 02-2021”.
If you choose to indicate a complete date, you will need to separate the items with dashes. For Google to understand your search, the date must appear in the following format: DD-MM-YYYY.
You are not required to enter the full date. You can only enter the year or the month and year.
The + and – operators
The + and – operators have an inclusion and exclusion function, respectively. Thus, by adding “+” in front of a word, the latter will be present on the pages proposed in the results:
Conversely, by adding “-“, results containing the word will be excluded:
The two operators can of course be combined with each other (and with others).
The “filetype” operator
To target a particular type of document, “filetype” is the ideal operator.
For example, if you are looking for the results of a study or a report, there is a good chance that the document will be in PDF format. Thus, in Google, enter: “filetype: pdf”.
You can use this operator to search for multiple types of files. Here are some examples for:
- An image: filetype: png, filetype: jpeg, filetype: svg
- PowerPoint presentation: filetype: ppt
- An excel array: filetype: xls
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The “related” operator
The last operator to know is “related”.
It allows you to display sites similar to any site of your choice: ideal for having an overview of your competitors or sites that publish pages on the same themes as you.
You will understand: using Google operators allows you to target and refine your search. The result: time savings, more relevant results and more efficient monitoring.
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