It’s very easy to overlook how much Google does and can do for your search. Making it as intuitive as possible is Google’s prime directive. Given how little the average person understands it or how Google search actually works makes this even truer. Yet despite Google’s vast improvements (or perhaps because of it) people seem to be losing their ability to perform ‘Advanced searches’ – something very critical to navigating the Web efficiently. With this, and Google’s evolving ability to understand context, it’s now more important than ever to make sure you’re getting precisely what you want out of the world’s largest and most dynamic search engine.

Instead of surrendering your power and giving Google your blind-faith, let’s take a look at the top 10 search modifiers, and how we can use them with effect to perform advanced searches.

Here’s the entire list of the top 10 search modifiers for your perusal.

    1. “query”
    2. –query
    3. Query AND query
    4. Query OR query
    6. Inurl:query
    7. Intitle:query
    8. Filetype:query
    9. Related:query
    10. Inpostauthor:query

1.       “Query” — Exact Match Search

Quotation marks ” ” around a group of words will search Google for only the exact match of those particular words. Also known as exact match search. Make sure you order your words correctly as a slight change in phrasing may result in a completely different set of results. Good for searching for an exact piece of information.

Example: “blueoceansearch”

2.       –Query — Query Exclusion Modifier

The subtract modifier (hyphen) will remove any phrase or word you don’t want in your search results. Good for trimming the fat off your search results.

Example: blueoceansearch -Manchester

3.       Query AND query — Query Combiner

Using “AND” within searches (between phrases/words) will tell Google to pull up results with BOTH queries within them. Good for narrowing your search down by combining terms.

Example: blueoceansearch AND Liverpool

4.       Query OR query — Similar Query Search

Allows you to search for multiple terms. Search for multiple/similar phrases and words within one result. Typically the ‘OR’ operator is used for multiple words that express the same idea — i.e., CEO/founder/owner/partner.

Example: blueoceansearch OR SEO Company

 5. — Site Specific Search will refine a Google’s search to a single website. This is good for finding particular pages or a particular piece of information within one website (particularly useful when searching websites with huge amounts of pages).

Example: “Jake Pittman”

6.       Inurl:query — URL Specific Search

Will only return Web pages that have your query in the actual URL. This can be used to good effect by finding various online profiles of someone with a unique name, or finding certain types of pages (guest posts, link lists,   forums, infographics etc.)

Example: inurl: Jake Pittman

7.       Intitle:query — Title Specific Search

The intitle:query modifier will strip down the search to only pages that have your particular query within their title. Similar to inurl:query, this works well for finding online profiles, different types of pages, and general information regarding your search

Example: intitle:blueoceansearch

8.       Filetype:query — File Specific Search

Searches only for pages hosting the type of file you specify (.pdf, .xlsx etc.) Good for finding particular files on a particular site and can be combined with the ‘site:’ modifier to do this.

Example: filetype:pdf

9.       Related:query — Related Results Search

Returns results related to your query. Note: the query can be a website, much as in site search, to return other related websites. However, the website needs to be fairly well known, otherwise related search is unlikely to find anything.


10.   Inpostauthor:query — Blog Author Search

Also known as blog author search — this will search blog posts for the author.

Example: inpostauthor:Jake Pittman

Google search has been hugely improved since it’s release 15 years ago, so much that many people have forgotten what a web search used to be like. Despite the improvement, you simply cannot fully put your trust into into it; doing so and relying upon it limits your own ability to search efficiently and effectively. Remembering and using these 10 search modifiers creatively will certainly give you the power to search the internet like a professional.