Advanced Google Search techniques are very useful to analyze competitors or identify sites that stole your content! Also from time to time it is a good thing to check what is going on with your website´s Google index. For the case that your website has just few pages in the index that is pretty easy: you do a site:yoursite.com query and you can see all your pages in the index and check them one-by-one.
BUT what if your site has (approximately) hundreds of thousands or even millions of pages in the Google index?
… Well, you will need a looot of patience or even better: You will have to use advanced Google Search Techniques – and that is what this post will be about, so hang on 😉
Alright, before rushing into the for SEO interesting Google queries, I recommend to visit the Google Operators Reference sheet to get an overview about the Google operators. Lifehacker published an interesting article about “Google Search Tricks” that helps you to understand what you can do with the Google search box beyond just writing your search terms. The cool thing is that with combining these Google operators in an intelligent way you will be able to mine interesting data for analyzing your websites and your competitors as well.
Here go my favorite advanced Google search techniques for search engine optimization, competitor analysis and QA: (replace “example.com” with your domain)
Find pages that copied your content, but don´t link to your page
Unfortunately this is something you need to check from time to time, because copied content without putting a dofollow link to the original site appears quite often in the web. This can happen especially with blog posts pages. To identify these pages that don´t put a (dofollow!) link to your page it works best to search for a unique phrase of your content that is long enough to be unique. That could be the title of your post, if it is not too mainstream or a phrase taken from your blog posts text. Important: don´t forget the ” operator for phrase match search and the – operator here!
“my blog post title or unique phrase from the blog text content” -link:myblogpostURL.com
If you are a photographer or a designer and you are worried if somebody stole your images there is help for you available:
You can use the Reverse Image search engine tineye to identify sites that stole your pics!
The only thing you have to do is to upload your pic or submit the URL of a page that has the picture integrated.
That´s it! The reverse image search engine will do the rest.
Find pages that mention your site but don´t link to your homepage:
Good to know, if you or your team wants to do some Linkbuilding. It is interesting to identify pages that mention your website, but didn´t put a (dofollow) link to your site, because maybe it just got forgotten to put the link to your site! Just write: (don´t forget the – operator before the link: here!)
Just a note: Google shows with the link: operator only sites that put a dofollow link to your page (yahoo shows also nofollowed ones) so you will probably get lots of results from social media sites that put a nofollow link to you like for example twitter.
Second note: with the link: query Google looks only at the mentioned page! so if you searched for link:yourhomepage.com it will only show the links that exactly linked to yourhomepage.com – links that go to sub-directories and pages like yourhomepage.com/blogpost-1 will not appear here.
Analyze keyword optimization of competitors
Or analyze your own sites keyword optimization! A good way to identify keyword optimized pages is to use the intitle: operator. You can combine it with a site: search and you will get interesting results! For the case you want to search for a longer keyword phrase, don´t forget the ” operator.
intitle:”the keyword phrase” site:example.com
Check for “Evil” subdomains:
First of all it needs to get clarified what an evil subdomain is: Well, that are just pages that are in a wrong subdomain that is not wanted. This can become an issue, if:
(a) you do URL Rewrites and it happens a bug that generates pages in an evil subdomain
(b) your site has a looong history and in the past there have been used different subdomains
(c) your hosting server got cracked and a spammer tries to hide his backlink pages in an evil subdomain
Well, (a) and (b) can only happen to you if you actually use subdomains in your website, but (c) can happen to you even if you don´t use subdomains!
Here goes the query: You will have to write -inurl:mysubdomian.example.com with “-” operator for each of your subdomains and “www”. Well, and site:example.com without “-” to tell Google that it should only search your domain. If you get 0 results after this query then everything should be fine. Example:
-inurl:mysubdomian1.example.com -inurl:mysubdomian2.example.com -inurl:www.example.com site:example.com
analyze backlink anchortext
Which pages on your site got backlinks that had your favorite keywod phrases in the anchor text? Very intersting question because the link anchor text became one of the most important SEO factors, according to SEOmoz! Important here again: use the ” phrase match operator!
inanchor:”your favourite keyword phrase” site:example.com
A cool free Firefox Plugin to check important SEO stats is SEO Quake!
This very cool Firefox plugin allows you to display important SEO info like Google Pagerank, Yahoo Linkdomain, number of pages indexed and much more right in the Google search results page!
SEO Quake can do much more cool things, but a detailed description would really go beyond the scope of this blog post 😛
That was actually just a small subset of possibilities to use advanced Google queries for SEO purposes. I have planned to continue to write about this topic in a future post. Ideas and suggestions are always welcome, so feel free to add a comment.