Apr 19

Tech Tip Tuesday: The Google Site Search Operator

Written by Chris Adams | posted in Tech Tip Tuesday | 0 Comments

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Have you ever come across a website with NO search capability? Or maybe you’re looking for something very specific on the website that is not readily available in the website navigation. Both situations can be easily solved utilizing Google’s “site:” search operator.

Google SiteWhat’s a “search operator?” A portion of a search query that modifies your search in some way. Google’s “site:” search operator is very useful because it restricts the results of a search to a specific website which helps you find exactly what you are looking for. To get a better understanding of it’s function let us take a look at a couple examples.

First Example

Head over to Trulia’s Voices Blog and enter the search: seo. The results are not any good because they are not relevant – far from it. Now go to Google.com and search this query: seo site:trulia.com. The results are almost completely different, and they are actually relevant. If we wanted to take part in an SEO related conversation on Trulia, we would be much better off using the “site:” search operator with Google to find conversations taking place about SEO than Trulia’s built-in search function.

Second Example

Imagine you wanted to find out what members of the real estate community thought on email marketing and any good tips. You could search “email marketing tips for REALTORS” into Google but the results are all over the place, requiring you to sift through a good deal of information to find the gold nuggets. You could head over to BiggerPockets (popular real estate forum) and use their integrated search function, but the results are still no good. Now try this, head over to Google.com and type in: email marketing site:http://www.biggerpockets.com/ – notice the higher quality results!

More examples

  • Easily sift through thousands of pages to find exactly what you need: social media site:realtor.org/
  • See list of similar deals from Best Buy: save $500 site:www.bestbuy.com
  • Find photos for your blog posts: “phoenix real estate” site:flickr.com

A few things to be aware of

  • The only time this won’t work is if the website or webpage has not been indexed by Google
  • For the best results place a domain or URL immediately after the operator (i.e. standard keywords will not work)
  • Don’t add a space between the colon (:) and the website domain
  • You can include the http:// portion and www, but they are not necessary

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