Searching on Google is one of the core elements of good SEO research. Find your competition, see who’s listed for certain keywords, and more. But if you know some of the tricks to the Google search query parameters, you can learn a lot more.
Here are 6 Google search query tips to help SEO:
1) “intitle:”/”allintitle:” Using this followed by your keywords will show you who’s strongly targeting these keywords by putting them into their title tag. Using just “intitle:” will show any of the keywords you’ve queried in any order, but not necessarily all the keywords. Using “allintitle:” will show all results with every keyword you’ve listed in their title tag, in any order. Putting your keywords in quotes after “intitle:” or “allintitle:” will show only listings who have all the keywords in that order in the title tag. By doing this, you can see who’s got at least the basic SEO down to compete for this keyword.
2) “inanchor:”/”allinanchor:” This query will show you who Google has found that has the highest number of links with these keywords as the anchor text pointing to these pages. The top listing has the most links pointing to this page with that anchor text, and it goes from there. Again, using quotes will show who’s using the exact phrase for their anchor text. By dusing this query you can see who you have to beat in anchor texted links (according to Google) to rank higher for that keyword.
3) “intext:”/”allintext:” This query isn’t as important as it used to be, since good SEO doesn’t weigh so heavily on keywords in on-page content (more on title tags and anchor text), but it can still be useful. This shows which pages are using the keywords most in their content. PageRank does affect the order of the listings for this query, so a site with a higher PR value will show up higher than another page even with the same keywords used a similar quantity on their page.
4) “link:” This fits well with the “inanchor” query for backlink research. If you put a domain or a page address after this, you’ll find out what other pages are linking back to this page. There are other tools that some people prefer to do this job, but it’s a quick way to find out what backlinks somebody is using.
5) “site:” If you don’t know this trick, this is one you really need to have in your arsenal. Using this followed by a domain name will show all pages in that domain that Google has crawled. If you add keywords after this, it will show only the pages in that domain that match the query. This can be used to find out how many pages from a site Google has in their server cache, as well as looking for specific information within a domain. This trick can even be used to find all sites of a particular class about a certain keyword phrase by typing in something like “site:.edu” with your keyword.
6) “info:” Another trick that is often missed. This will basically give you shortcuts to find out more about a domain or a specific page that you put after this tag. From the results page on this, you can find the cache (which will display the last time the page was crawled) as well as a few of the above options (“link”, “site”) plus pages that are similar to the indicated page (the “related:” tag) or even just a pure query on who has that specific term listed on their site. It’s a mix of the Google query tricks in one place, but if you know each of them uniquely you can do each separately on your own.
Learning how to use each of these can make for very powerful tools to use for your SEO research and goal-setting. It can help find out who your competition is and how effective they are at different SEO elements.