Google released an Advanced SEO Help Page on using Google search operators to debug a website.

The search results from the Google search operator are not tied to Google’s standard ranking algorithm, and the index used is limited and not up-to-date.

Yet in addition to these limitations, search operators provide useful information that can be used for search engine optimization purposes.

They are not useful when trying to learn about Google’s algorithm. But search operators are very helpful to learn more about the website.

The new documentation includes a statement on data limitations:

“Because search operators are bound by indexing and search restrictions, the Search Console URL Verification Tool is more reliable for debugging purposes.”

However, search operators can be used to find interesting information on a site.

The new documentation covers the following search operators:

  • site:
  • cache:
  • related to:
  • src:
  • size of the picture:

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site: search operator

The site search operator shows an example of pages on Google. It’s not all pages, as Google’s note makes clear when it states that search operators’is bound by crawl and search boundaries.

Site Search does not use Google’s standard ranking algorithm and only shows NAME pages that are indexed.

All search operators have always had a random quality that makes them unreliable in terms of completeness and especially when trying to figure out ranking or factors related to algorithms.

This is true for all search operators.

I use site: search as a quick and dirty way to find pages with specific keywords, but I do so with the understanding that there are pages that may be missing.

For example, I had a problem with user-generated content where members of Apple devices cut and pasted non-UTF characters into a webpage, resulting in symbols instead of letters.

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Site: With the help of a search operator, I found many of them and tried site software to write the symbols back into letters site-wide.

Google’s new support page says:

“Search for search results for a specific domain, URL, or URL prefix. For example:

site:https://www.google.com/"

cache: Search operator

Cache: The search operator displays the cache of the Google webpage, a copy of what the page looked like when Googlebot last crawled it.

Caching is a great way to find out if a site has been hacked and if different content is being shown to Google (cloaking).

Google Support Page the cache operator has a warning:

“The actual cached version may appear to be incomplete or even empty in some cases.

This may be because your browser’s original policies blocked the JavaScript functionality of your page, which is responsible for creating the actual layout of the page.

This is normal and not something that needs to be fixed. To see if your browser is blocking JavaScript, look for bugs in your browser’s developer console. “

related: Search Operator

Related: The search operator is nice. It tells you what other sites Google identifies to be related to the site you’re looking for.

Related: A search operator can be helpful in telling you if there is something wrong with the relevancy of your content if Google seems to wildly link to unrelated sites.

This is how you use related to: search operator:

related:https://www.example.com/

Google also has a warning about this search operator:

“Missing your URLs on related topics: queries do not indicate the quality of your pages or other search signals.

The kinship of URLs is usually calculated only from the most popular URLs on the Internet.

Additionally, the data that controls the related: query operator is not updated in real time, so the most recent popular URLs may not appear in the related: search operator results.

Related: The search operator is not a good tool for debugging certain URLs. “

src: Hotlink Finder

Src: The search operator finds the pages that link to the image.

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This is an example of Google src: search operator support page use:

src:https://example.com/media/carrot.jpg

size of the picture:

Imagesize: The search operator searches for images of a certain size and is typically used with the site: search operator.

There are also restrictions on two image search operators.

Google’s note is similar to previous warnings:

“Because image search operators are bound by indexing and search restrictions, you may not see all the results that might appear for a regular search query.”

Use Google search operators

Google search operators have many uses, although not all uses may appear at first glance.

For example, I’ve never had use of the imageize: search operator, but there may come a day when I need to know if Google has indexed an image with certain image dimensions.

References

Learn about Google’s brand new search operator
An overview of Google search operators

Also read these other search operator pages

site: search operator

cache: Search operator

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Google Image Search Operators

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