The objective of this tutorial is to show you how to improve your SEO research by using
Google’s advanced search operators. If you are someone doing internet market research,
advanced searching techniques will save a great deal of time and effort finding specific
For business owners, one very easy-to-use and helpful advanced operator is “intitle,” but we
will also show you how to find and use many other advanced search operating terms.
STEP 1. LEARN WHAT “INTITLE” IS
People think internet research means untold hours of work, but knowing how to use some
specialized search operators will make it easier than ever before.
Let’s start with a search on “Pest Control Miami” which yields about three million results. If
we’re doing competitive research on this subject, that’s too many to go through. So we want to
start narrowing down results and finding web pages that really relate to our topic. A good way
to do this is to use the specialized search operator “intitle.”
In the Google search bar, type intitle:”pest control miami” (or whatever your keyword is) in
quotes after the colon. This tells Google you’re looking for the phrase “pest control miami” in
the title of any webpage. Using this phrase narrows your results down to 31,000 sites.
Instead of finding millions of web pages that just mention the keyword you typed into Google,
the “intitle” operator searches only for that keyword in the “Page Title” of the website.
The title is the larger wording in blue at the top of each result that’s listed. It’s what you click on
to open the webpage. If you go to any webpage and look at the source code, you’ll see that
Google pulls the code called title, page title or meta title from the website and puts it in the
Just as the headline of a newspaper article describes what the story is about, webmasters and
internet marketers list a page title to tell Google what that page is about. That’s what you’re
searching out when you use the “intitle” search operator. When doing research, this is
invaluable because you’re narrowing down your results to what the webmaster or internet
marketer is saying that page is about. The results are very, very specific.
STEP 2. LEARN HOW TO SEARCH
Some real life examples can show how well “intitle” works for searches.
As an internet marketer doing research you’re looking for quality websites to use for online
public relations or to get links from. If you’re selling ties, you might want to find fashion
magazines where you can talk about the ties in an editorial or as a link in an online blog.
Just searching for fashion magazines will give you too many results, but now you can locate just
those sites that are dedicated entirely to fashion magazines.
Using intitle: fashion magazine without quotes yields 39 million results, which is way too many.
Putting quotes around the phrase fashion magazine (intitle:”fashion magazine”) drops the
results down to about 1 million or so.
The code above means that we are looking for the phrase “fashion magazine” in the title or a
page (i.e. Page Title). If you do not use quotes you are looking for the word “fashion” and/or
“magazine” in the page title. Usually, you will want to use quotes so you can narrow down
But there are still 1,230,000 results. To narrow it down more we need to modify our search.
You could start looking through these websites, but this is still too large of a results group.
Luckily there are many additional variations of search operators that can help save time and
help you find the valuable resources you need. To search even more efficiently and effectively,
use the specific operator variation list or list of.
A newspaper headline that says “List of Fashion Magazines” would be extremely helpful
because it would give you a list of fashion magazine titles. You’ll find the same results online by
typing intitle:”list of fashion magazines.”
Now only 2,220 results come up, and that is a reasonable number of sites to look through.
Being more specific with the search operator has now reduced our results to about 2,000 pages
that are all lists of fashion magazines.
Using the search operator intitle with the variation “list of” gives you very fast and accurate
results, and if you’re doing online public relations you can start copying these lists to build a
database of magazines to contact
If we want to find fashion magazines to reach out to, why conduct the research yourself when
companies like Wikipedia already have these lists and you can find them in Google?
STEP 3. LEARN HOW TO SEARCH BETTER
Sometimes, however, your results can be too specific. If you’re selling ties and you only want to
highlight them in men’s fashion magazines, you would type intitle: “list of men’s fashion
magazines” for a very narrow six results.
Step #2 is good, but you can get better at learning how to search for find lists of
websites. For example, the 2,200 is good, but what if we wanted to find a list of
JUST Men’s Fashion magazines? Entering this text works, but we only find 6 results:
Even though those six sites are exactly what you need, you may eventually want some broader
results as well.
To find more than six results but still have them be very specific, type [men’s] intitle: “list of
fashion magazines.” You’ll notice you’ve added the word men’s in brackets at the beginning of
the search phrase. This says you’re looking for the words list of fashion magazines in the page
title and also looking for the word men’s somewhere on the page.
In our example, this increases the list of results from five to about 206, so you have more pages
on which to find what you’re looking for. You could also use the variation in the following
graphic, putting list in brackets instead of the word men’s which says you’re looking for the
word list somewhere on the page and men’s fashion magazines in the page title:
If we don’t find everything we are looking for in those 6 results, we can modify the
search to the following:
Using the word list (or the phrase list of) is just one of many search operator variations. The
examples below show more ways you can use the word list in conjunction with the search
operator intitle to get very precise results. There are endless possibilities.
Because not everyone will use the word list, you could replace that word with other keywords
such as: top, directory, best, recommended, popular, top 10, top 100, blog, news, etc. You can
combine and create many keyword phrases. (Remember to use plural and singular wording.)
This will save you an enormous amount of search time because other companies have already
done the research for you and listed it on Google.
STEP 4. LEARN HOW TO SEARCH BETTER, AND BETTER, AND BETTER
To narrow and specify your results in many more ways, you can add pluses and minuses to
keywords as search operator variations.
For example, we might not want to have blogs in our results, just quality men’s fashion
magazines. To eliminate all blogs from the list of results, you simply put a minus sign next to
that keyword: [list] intitle:”men’s fashion magazines”-blog.
This says that you want to find men’s fashion magazines in the title, the word list somewhere
on the page, and eliminate any mentions of a blog. The minus sign eliminates that keyword in
the results. You can also do this the opposite way by using a plus sign with a keyword.
If the Wikipedia site keeps showing up and you don’t want that among your results, simply
type: -site:Wikipedia.org at the end of your search phrase and that site will never show up.
Using the variation of [list] intitle: combined with pluses and minuses placed before keywords
can narrow down your results and tweak what you’re looking for to find the exact resources
Here’s a summary of four specific search operators that get fantastic results:
TIP #1: IN-DEPTH RESOURCES YOU MAY NEED
If you are going to work as a web researcher, you need to become an expert at it. Here are
some additional ways to find anything online quickly and easily.
inurl – This search operator let you locate sites with your particular keyword listed in the
URL. For our example, we would type inurl:”men’s fashion magazines” to find only those
pages that have that keyword phrase in the URL. You can be fairly certain that the page
or site will be about that topic if it’s in the URL.
site: .org intitle “keyword” + list of – This says you are looking for web pages that are
only .org sites as opposed to .net, .biz or other extensions. Generally .org sites are a first
choice because they are higher quality pages.
The following table lists yet more search operators that work with each Google search service.
Click on an operator to jump to the Google Guide site for more detailed information on each
The following tables offer additional information on how to use different site operators. The
links in these tables are not live.
To successfully learn how to do effective SEO research in Google, follow these steps:
- Learn what the “intitle” operator is.
- Learn how to use “intitle” effectively in searches.
- Learn how to use “intitle” better through various search operator combinations.
- Learn other Google search operators and how to use them successfully.
Finding very specific results for internet market research doesn’t have to be difficult or time-
consuming. Specialized search operators in Google such as “intitle” help you pull results that
are as narrow or as broad as you need them to be. You can locate information that has already
been researched by other companies and listed on Google, so you spend less time tracking
down what you need.
For this tutorial, you will need: