Google being a full-text search engine, it indexes entire web pages instead of just titles and descriptions. Additional commands, called special syntaxes, let Google users search specific parts of web pages or specific types of information. This comes in handy when you’re dealing with 2 billion web pages and need every opportunity to narrow your search results. Specifying that your query words must appear only in the title or URL of a returned web page is a great way to have your results get very specific without making your keywords themselves too specific.
Some of these syntaxes work well in combination. Others fare not quite as well. Still others do not work at all. For detailed discussion on what does and does not mix, see [Hack #8].
your search to the titles of web pages.
allintitle: finds pages wherein all
the words specified make up the title of the web page.
It’s probably best to avoid the
allintitle: variation, because it
doesn’t mix well with some of the other syntaxes.
intitle:"george bush" allintitle:"money supply" economics
your search to the URLs of web pages.
This syntax tends to work well for finding search and help pages,
because they tend to be rather regular in composition. An
allinurl: variation finds all the words listed in
a URL but doesn’t mix well with some other special
inurl:help allinurl:search help
only body text (i.e., ignores link text, URLs, and titles).
but again, this doesn’t play well with others. While
its uses are limited, it’s perfect for finding query
words that might be too common in URLs or link titles.
for text in a page’s link anchors. A link anchor is
the descriptive text of a link. For example, the link anchor in the
site:loc.gov site:thomas.loc.gov site:edu site:nc.us
a list of pages linking to the specified
you’ll be returned a list of pages that link to
Google. Don’t worry about including the
http:// bit; you don’t need it,
and, indeed, Google appears to ignore it even if you do put it in.
link: works just as well with
“deep” URLs—http://www.raelity.org/apps/blosxom/ for
instance—as with top-level URLs such as raelity.org.
a copy of the page that Google indexed even if that page is no longer
available at its original URL or has since changed its content
completely. This is particularly useful for pages that change often.
If Google returns a result that appears to have little to do with your query, you’re almost sure to find what you’re looking for in the latest cached version of the page at Google.
your search to a particular date or range of dates that a page was
indexed. It’s important to note that the search is
not limited to when a page was created, but when it was indexed by
Google. So a page created on February 2 and not indexed by Google
until April 11 could be found with
search on April 11. Remember also that Google reindexes pages.
Whether the date range changes depends on whether the page content
changed. For example, Google indexes a page on June 1. Google
reindexes the page on August 13, but the page content
hasn’t changed. The date for the purpose of
daterange: is still June 1.
Julian [Hack #12], not Gregorian dates (the calendar we use
every day.) There are Gregorian/Julian converters online, but if you
want to search Google without all that nonsense, use the FaganFinder
Google interface (http://www.faganfinder.com/engines/google.shtml),
daterange: searching via a Gregorian date
pull-down menu. Some of the hacks deal with
daterange: searching without headaches, so
you’ll see this popping up again and again in the
"George Bush" daterange:2452389-2452389 neurosurgery daterange:2452389-2452389
the suffixes or filename extensions. These are usually, but not
necessarily, different file types. I like to make this distinction,
because searching for
filetype:html will give you different result
counts, even though they’re the same file type. You
can even search for different page generators, such as ASP, PHP, CGI,
and so forth—presuming the site isn’t hiding
them behind redirection and proxying. Google indexes several
different Microsoft formats, including:
PowerPoint (PPT), Excel
(XLS), and Word (DOC).
homeschooling filetype:pdf "leading economic indicators" filetype:ppt
related:, as you might expect,
pages that are related to the specified page. Not all pages are
related to other pages. This is a good way to find categories of
pages; a search for
return a variety of search engines, including HotBot, Yahoo!, and
a page of links to more information about a specified URL.
Information includes a link to the URL’s cache, a
list of pages that link to that URL, pages that are related to that
URL, and pages that contain that URL. Note that this information is
dependent on whether Google has indexed that URL or not. If Google
hasn’t indexed that URL, information will obviously
be more limited.
phonebook:, as you might expect, looks
phone numbers. For a deeper look, see
the section [Hack #17].
phonebook:John Doe CA phonebook:(510) 555-1212
As with anything else, the more you use Google’s special syntaxes, the more natural they’ll become to you. And Google is constantly adding more, much to the delight of regular web-combers.
If, however, you want something more structured and visual than a single query line, Google’s Advanced Search should be fit the bill.