This is how you use the Google search operators

Google search can do more than many users believe. With the right filters and search operators, search results can be narrowed down even better. We show you how to do it.

Looking for a needle in a haystack? This is how you google correctly!

Users do not always find what they are really looking for simply by entering a search term on Google. It is true that Google is now very good at interpreting the intentions of the users and finding the best results for a search query. However, many searchers do not immediately find what they are looking for in the countless search results. So instead of clicking your way through a number of results pages, you can narrow down your Google search with a few tricks and twists and get to your goal more effectively.

Filter search results

The easiest way to narrow down the search results is to use the different filters that Google provides. Here you can not only search specifically for pictures and videos, but also for books, shopping offers, places, flights and news. Each filter category can then be narrowed down even further. For example, you can search for blog posts or news from a specific period under News. The image search can be searched for different licenses, image types and sizes. The video search can be narrowed down to certain sources and video lengths. In short: the more specific users use the filters, the more precise the results will be.

Google provides different filters for refining the search. (Screenshot: Google)

Leverage Google search operators

The Google results can be narrowed down even more precisely with the so-called search operators. Very few users use them – these small commands make a search query really successful. There are a number of symbols and words that, when used correctly, will save you a great deal of time sifting through search results.

Search query in quotation marks “”

Explanation: If a user wants to search for an exact word or a group of words, it makes sense to specify the search query using quotation marks. This search operator is particularly suitable for searching for exact quotations.

Example: The search for “Love is” shows results in which both search terms appear one after the other.

Search queries with a minus sign

Explanation: As soon as a result that contains a certain term is to be excluded, the searcher must put a minus sign in front of the respective word.

Example: Hashtag outcry -Twitter shows all articles and pages that contain the keywords “hashtag” and “outcry” and do not contain the keyword “Twitter” – for example, public Facebook posts on this topic.

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Search queries with asterisks *

Explanation: If you are looking for a certain phrase and you have missed a word, you can simply replace it with the *.

Example: In the search query the stone of * Google automatically adds the obvious word “wise”.

Note: As Google is constantly improving its autocomplete function, this search operator has basically become obsolete. Appropriate additions are suggested to the searcher when typing in the request:

Autocomplete replaces this search operator. (Screenshot: Google)


Explanation: With the help of allintext: only results are displayed that contain all keywords in the text of the page – in other words: the page title as well as the address and so on are not taken into account.

Example: allintext: t3n iPhone update only outputs pages with “t3n”, “iPhone” and “Update” in the text.


Explanation: allintitle: shows the websites whose titles contain the keywords you are looking for. When searching for images, the file name is scanned and the article’s headline is scanned for Google News.

Example: allintitle: t3n Startups Berlin shows all subpages with the keywords “t3n”, “Startups” and “Berlin” in the title. The purpose is to find out which young internet companies from Berlin we have addressed in our company.


Explanation: The operator allinurl: filters for results that contain the keywords in the URI.

Example: allinurl: google faq finds only pages with both “google” and “faq” in their URI – for example


Explanation: The Google operator cache: shows you cache versions of any website. All you have to do is insert the link behind the command. Especially interesting when the current version of a page is currently not available.

Example: cache: https: // possibly shows an older version from the Google cache.


Explanation: define: is always interesting when a user wants to find a definition. In addition, several results are displayed that have the search term in the URL.

Example: define: linkbuilding shows a definition and links to “link building”.

Note: For many search terms, this function is already taken over by the Knowledge Graph, which displays additional information that matches the search term. This is especially true for search terms for which users are often primarily looking for a definition.

With define: definitions can be found if these are not (yet) recorded by the Knowledge Graph. (Screenshot: Google)


Explanation: The Google operator filetype: is a real help when a user wants to search the web for specific formats like PDF or Doc files.

Example: The search query web page evaluation checklist filetype: pdf finds PDF files containing the respective keywords. With the operator OR You can also search for several formats at the same time email security filetype: pdf OR filetype: doc.


Explanation: With the search operator related: and the indication of a link, pages can be found that are similar in content to the specified page.

Example: The search related: gives an overview of other cooking and recipe pages.

This article was updated on June 8, 2020.


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