Google provides various search operators which allow a Google user to apply advance search options directly into the Google search box. The available search operators include; allinanchor:, allintext:, allintitle:, allinurl:, cache:, define:, filetype:, id:, inanchor:, info:, intext:, intitle:, inurl:, phonebook:, related:, and site:.
For SEO’s, these search operators are a very simple but powerful tool for analyzing a websites indexed content. The primary operator we use is the site search operator. Some people call it site colon search, but we prefer to categorize them as operators.
The site search operator instructs Google to restrict your search results to the site or domain specified in the query. Below is an example of a query that returns results for all indexed content for the specified domain.
The one key element we look for at this point is that Google has actually indexed some content. As you can see, Google also provides the approximate count of indexed content. If no results are returned, which we have seen before, hurry and talk to a webmaster… the site is not being indexed!?!
Additionally, by using the search filters from the left navigation, selecting “Images” or “Videos” will return just those indexed items. With images and video being increasingly important to SEO, this is a simple way to review what images and videos are actually indexed.
While this basic query only provides a view of the indexed content, additional analysis has to be done to identify any content that we would typically not recommend being indexed. Below are a few examples of how we identify such content:
1. For ecommerce or any other websites that include a site search option, we typically do not recommend search results be indexed. In such cases, one way to identify indexed search results is to use the inurl search operator with the site search operator. For this example, we appended the term included in the URL when a search is performed to the inurl search operator in the query.
Example: “site:www.amazon.com inurl:url=search-alias”
2. One way to identify content with duplicate title tags is to use the intitle search operator with the site search operator. For this example, we appended a title tag that might be duplicated to the intitle search operator in the query.
Example: “site:www.amazon.com intitle:”Plastic Gift Cards / mp3 / Gift Cards Store””
3. One way to identify files like PDFs or robots.txt that you may not want indexed is to use the filetype search operator with the site search operator. For this example, we appended “pdf” to the filetype search operator in the query.
Example: “site:www.amazon.com filetype:pdf”
As mentioned earlier, there are many additional uses for the site search operator. If you haven’t used it prior, we highly recommend trying it out and creating your own query using any of Google’s search operators.