Getting funky and geeky with Google site operators has always been fun. Google’ search operators are special commands that allow you to finetune your search. Pretty convenient and useful for SEO.
With a bunch of creativity (and some level of geekness) you can actually find some pretty cool, quirky and surprisingly useful stuff.
I’ll show you how.
- 25.270.000.000 URLs
- Lorum Ipsum
- Google spreadsheets
- Google slides
- Free SEO resources
- Negative ‘Define’
- Hilarious videos
- ‘ww’ issues
- ‘Content freshness & coverage’
#1 25.270.000.000 – Max. number indexed URLs
Did you know that with the search command “site:” Google’s Search Engine ‘results number’, featured below the search box, simply won’t go higher than 25.7 billion.
In theory, to get all indexed ‘www’ URLs , you perform the following command: site:www.*.*
However, when I try to prompt all .com sites in Google’s index, Google serves the exact same number
You can also try many other searches, but they’ll end up to that number.
Although it’s not that useful, it is a fun fact.
#2 Lorum ipsum – Bunch of Latin mumbo jumbo
To get results with the typical latin mockup ‘Lorum Ipsum’ language, that usually occur on pages hosted on staging sites, you can perform the following query:
site:www.*.* intext:lorum ipsum sit amet
Also include ‘sit amet’ in your query, as without, you would get sites that provide information around the topic of Lorum Ipsum.
You’ll get hilarious results.
Yes it’s funny, but it can be pretty useful too. You can easily spot if there are any potential template pages floating around publicly on your site.
#3 Find Google Sheet spreadsheets
Just write down the following command:
This will prompt all open available, and thus indexed, Google Sheets spreadsheets. To make it interesting you can narrow down your search to whatever floats your boat.
site:https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets intext:seo intext:strategy
Go and try, let your imagination run.
#4 Find Google Slide presentation decks
Of course we can do the same with Google’s slide presentations.
Possibilities are endless. Apply commands such as intitle, intext, allintitle.
#5 Find Free SEO resources
Obviously you can Google ‘free SEO tools’. But there is a more convenient way to discover free SEO stuff.
ext:pdf intext:seo site:*.com intitle:free
This query prompts all indexed PDFs that are about SEO and have ‘free’ in the title for all sites with .com. You can play around with the cTLD or the input for the intext: command.
#6 Negative ‘define’
With the ‘define’ command you are able to display the meaning of a word as Google’s SERP Dictionary result. For instance, if you’d like the definition of ‘leader’, you type in:
Another side benefit is that Google’s SERP is populated with ‘What is..’ or ‘Definition of ..’ results.
Pretty useful, but it’s get more interesting when you exclude the query and combine it with other search operators. For instance:
-define:leader intext:leader site:*.com
This query commands Google’s search engine to show all .com domains that revolve around the topic ‘leader’ without showing results about ‘definitions of.. / what is ..’
And that’s convenient as you can explore specific topics within a larger content pillar theme. In most cases, when performing an informative search query with a generic keyword, Google’s SERP are stuffed with ‘what is…’ articles. For example, when you search for ‘leadership’, the first 5 results are all about ‘what is leadership’
With the -define command, you can explore other topics besides ‘what is leadership’ for the chosen pillar theme ‘leadership’.
#7 Find hilarious videos
Yes, you can go directly to youtube and perform your search query there. But where’s the fun in that?
Alternatively, you can play around with the intext, intitle and inurl command. For example:
intext:leadership intitle:banana inurl:youtube
This results in hilarious videos:
If this one is useful, that’s up for debate. It sure can help with boosting your creativity in finding new content topics for your (video) content strategy.
#8 Find ‘ww’ issues (yes 2x ‘w’)
Not everyone bumps into this issue, but sometimes it happens that ‘ww’ (or ‘w’) URLs get indexed, URLs such as https://ww.yourdomain.com/. This happens when there is an error in the DNS records. Probably not all variations (w/ww/www) point to to same IP address. To fix this issue, make sure all variations point to the same IP address. You can remove any excess URLs in the Google’ Index with Search Console’s removal tool.
It’s not directly harmful, but something you definitely want to fix.
This command will show all indexed URLs with ‘ww’. There are about 27 million URLs with this issue. Quite a large number.
If you want to discover if your (client’s) domain is affected by this issue, then apply the following operator:
site:ww.yourdomain.* or site:www.ww.yourdomain.*
#9 Find # of published pages of any site for any given period for any topic
Want to know how many articles Search Engine Journal posted in the first 5 months of 2021 on semantic SEO? No problem. Use the next site operator:
site:searchenginejournal.com after:2021-1-1 before:2021-6-1 intext:semantic
In similar vein to the above example, the site operator command can also help you to determine the extent to which businesses cover particular topics and how frequently they post or update content.
For instance, how many content articles does Search Engine Journal have on the topic ‘semantic’ for the year 2021, 2020, 2019 and 2018? To get an answer, you’d perform 4 different queries.
For 2021: site:searchenginejournal.com after:2020 intext:semantic. Results: 38
For 2020: site:searchenginejournal.com after:2019 before:2021 intext:semantic Results: 39
For 2019: site:searchenginejournal.com after:2018 before:2020 intext:semantic Results: 32
For 2018: site:searchenginejournal.com after:2017 before:2019 intext:semantic Results: 30
You can do this for other topics too.
This query can yield 2 powerful insights about domains:
- The content coverage on a particular topic
- The relative content freshness (and thus potential relevance)
The count number below the search box in Google indicates the number of pages that are featured by a chosen domain. This number is only valuable knowledge when combined with the same command but then for other domains.
Replace your domain in site:yourdomain.com with your competitors and discover which competitor has the strongest content coverage.
2. Content freshness
Similarly, repeat the same commands, but now you can see the content’s degree of ‘freshness’ for each chosen domain and for your chosen topic.
Combining content coverage & content freshness
It becomes even more powerful when you combine the two. Spot content opportunities by asking the next questions (and create the corresponding commands accordingly)
- What topics are barely covered by competitors?
- What topics are not covered in 2021 (or a more specific date period) by competitors?
- What topics are, although covered by competitors, not recently updated or published?
- What topics are, although recently updated or published, not heavily covered yet (by authoritative domains)?
One side note here: Google extracts the date of publication through a written, user-visible date on the page. However, Google doesn’t depend on a single dating factor because all factors can be prone to issues. So, although Google looks at several factors to determine the best estimate of when a page was published or significantly updated, it can still give you good enough reflection of reality.
Good luck goofing around!
I am Bartjan Sonneveld and founder of templatesseo.com. I work as an international SEO consultant & Freelancer across Europe for corporations and SMEs worldwide and help them with complicated technical matters and international strategy. I also help agencies and businesses to become better at data analyses for SEO purposes. I love getting funky with regular expressions, x-paths and queries in Google Sheet, which encouraged me to create numerous sheet templates to automate tedious tasks or improve the quality of data insights.