Advanced Search Operators in Google.
Some of you will know how to use search operators, for those of you who don’t, it is important that you do. I shall explain why.
Let’s start with the basics…
Google works by indexing webpages. It does so by crawling links from other pages to index new pages. It gets a little bit more complicated than this, as PageRank and other algorithms come in to play, however, the aim here is to get relevant links from high ‘PageRank’ websites. PageRank being Larry ‘Page’, rather than ‘webpage’.
With this said, the more recent measurement for worth is Domain Authority, however, this was created by Moz (and Rand Fishkin), not by Google. This is a little more insightful as DA gives a rating from 0 to 100, whereas PageRank is 1 to 10.
Where a lot of people go wrong is focusing on quantity, rather than focusing on quality.
This guide shown all sorts of difference search operators: https://ahrefs.com/blog/google-advanced-search-operators
These are the most relevant and important in my opinion:
What do these search operators do?
Allintitle looks at how many pages are indexed within Google that contain the keyword (search query) as a phrase in the title.
The same can be said this allinURL.
With allintext, this looks at how many times the phrase in indexed in the content on the page.
Similarly, around(x) looks at where keywords are close to each other on the page.
Allinanchor looks at how many links are indexed on google that use the keyword as the link text.
Finally, site: looks at how many pages are indexed within google that refer to the search query / keyword.
Footnote: you may notice that I use the descriptor of ‘Search Query’ and ‘keyword’ interchangeably. I do so because people commonly refer to keywords as the words that are searched on Google, however, theoretically-speaking, these are more like search queries than keywords. Additionally, people often get confused between Keywords in Google Ads and the now-defunct meta keywords.
Why is this important?
If we can find keywords with high search volume and low competition, then we can easily find quick win opportunities. The aforementioned show some of the most key metrics for SEO, so we can use this as a clear indicator for how competitive a search query is.
Once we have established the numbers for each of the aforementioned are low and the search volume is, alongside checking to ensure that the search query is high intent by looking for certain words, then we can be confident that it is a good word to optimise for.
This shouldn’t be news for many of you who are already active in the SEO space, but for those who are new to this, hopefully, it helps to simplify the process of keyword research.
Not all metrics are equal. Some metrics are more heavily weighted in the search algorithms than others, so do factor this in when researching. With this said, by using search operators you should be able to easily ascertain which keywords are competitive and which are not.
Here are 3 tips to get you started:
Tip 1: Start by looking at words that are different from the rest, these tend to be less competitive.
Tip 2: Sometimes search queries that contain the word ‘best’ and ‘top’ are less competitive, but there’s a reason for this. Often these search queries don’t convert as well, as they fall in to the research ‘phase of intent’ (this is our methology that looks at 4-phases of the customer journey. This consists of: Idea, Browse, Compare and Purchase).
Tip 3: Look at search queries with more words. These search queries are generally less competitive with the more words they have within the search query.
Update: I’m currently working with a data science student to update our keyword research tool, so watch this space. We will have further updates in due course.
One such idea that I had relating to this is to create a UGC (user-generated content) website. My logic: “Most people currently have an excess of time. So why don’t we create something like a Q and A website but solely for high volume and low competition search queries?”
Perhaps there is an opportunity for you to do so in your marketplace/sector/industry?