Most of us are familiar with the regular version of Google Search, where we put our search term and the relevant web, video, or image results appear against our search query in the SERP. But there is an advanced version of Google Search that is hidden in plain sight and that mainly involves taking advantage of search operators.
You can use the advanced Google search operators for SEO purposes. This will help you boost the ranking of your site and highlight key SEO problems. It can also help you discover emerging websites in low-competition niches for starting a new blog.
1. Find sites for guest posting.
You already know at this point what backlinks are and how important they are in boosting the ranking of your site. But not all backlinks work the same way. Guest posts, during my testing, have yielded significantly better results than, say, Web 2.0 backlinks.
Many sites will include a “Write for Us” page where you can submit your guest post. If you are running a home improvement business, you will be on the lookout for a blog that covers topics related to the home improvement niche. You can find such blogs by typing home improvement intitle:”Write for us” inurl:write-for-us in the address bar.
2. Know which pages of your site are indexed.
Whether you are just starting up a new blog or have an existing one, you might want to see which pages of your site are indexed by Google. Taking a look at indexed pages is crucial (especially when your site is hit by a Google update).
Luckily, you can use a simple Google search operator to see exactly how many pages are indexed. Just type site:yourdomain.com in the search bar, and a list of indexed pages of your site will be presented to you in the SERP.
Bonus: You can also use this search operator to see how your competitor has optimized his content by looking at the indexed title tags, meta descriptions, and rich snippets, and you can use that knowledge to identify the areas where your content can win over his.
3. Find out about files that you don’t want to index.
Most webmasters like to use WordPress as their CMS. And why wouldn’t they? It’s easy, free, and open source. You can host a WordPress-based site or store it on any type of web server without much hassle. But you know what? Using an open platform that relies heavily on an open file system may expose sensitive files on your web server to being indexed by Google.
Use site:yourdomain.com filetype:[extension] to enlist all the indexed files on your web server. Please note that you’ll only be able to enlist files based on specific extensions one-by-one. Here is a list of the file extensions that are indexable by Google.
4. Find articles for internal linking.
No webmaster wants a skyrocketing bounce rate. There is no better and more ethical way to keep visitors hooked on your site than by focusing on an effective strategy for internal linking. Internal links relevant to the content they link tend to work best and will keep the visitors for a longer period, thus decreasing the bounce rate.
You can make use of Google Search Operators to find related articles for internal linking. Use site:yourdomain.com “[topic or related keyword]” to enlist all the related articles that are published on your site. For instance, if your site is about cooking, you can use the search operator site:yourdomain.com “pasta recipes” to find all the articles on your site that are related to pasta recipes.
5. Discover Sites for Your Next Blog
So, you have selected the niche for your next blog, but you’re clueless about the topics others in your niche are covering on their blogs. Using Google Search Operators could also save you hours of keyword research, as you can not only discover both emerging and established sites but also what content they are covering.
Google’s advanced search operators provide powerful tools for SEO professionals and webmasters. Upon using Google Search operators for SEO to find high-quality sites for guest posting, discover what pages are indexed on a site, and identify any unwanted file types being indexed, you can more effectively audit sites and take appropriate optimization measures. Additional operators allow exploring a competitor’s content strategy, finding related internal links, and discovering new topic ideas from emerging niche websites. Whether the goal is improving an existing site’s rankings, auditing a competitor, or planning new content, Google’s advanced search operators save considerable time over manual methods and offer insights that can significantly help strategies for success.