How to Use Boolean Search Operators for SEO

If you are an SEO, business owner, or just can’t seem find exactly what you need on a search engine a Boolean operator can help you quickly narrow search results to become more specific to what you need.

For example, maybe you are looking to buy a new pair of Nike shoes and have an Amazon gift card that you’d like to use.  Let’s put a quick Boolean search in place to limit our results to the Amazon website and Nike shoes.  Here is what your search would look like:

site:amazon.com Nike shoes

Once you enter this string into Google, Yahoo, or Bing wala! Your results show only pages on Amazon selling Nike shoes.  One small quark you may notice is that Google ads will not obey these operators so you will need to ignore both shopping and search ads.

boolean search terms

Now that you understand the basic principle lets dig and take a look at some of the operators you might use.  Below is a table of Boolean terms that you can use to quickly narrow in your searches.

Boolean SEO Searches For Outreach

If you’re looking to start an outreach campaign for SEO visibility there is no better way that I can think of than a good site operator.  Let’s start by narrowing our search to specific keywords and website types.  Try out the exact query string below.

how to lose weight site:.edu

Now change

how to lose weight site:.edu

to

how to lose weight site:.org

and change that to

how to lose weight site:.us

Notice how the results change to display only those domain types.

Let’s say you’re still not getting the results you need and want to limit your search to .org sites that are blog and looking for content.  No problem.  There is a simple query string we can use below.

how to lose weight site:.com inurl:blog intitle:write for us

Notice that most of the results are looking for guest writers to contribute quality content to their website.  This is a great way to find websites that you can become a contributor and gain visibility.

boolean seo search results google

List of Boolean Search Terms

Ready to get creative and try out a few yourself?  Below is a list of different terms you can use in search engines.  Use one by itself or combine multiple operators to narrow your results and find exactly what you need.

Boolean Term Use
AND Includes every keyword entered. Google adds this by default between search terms
OR Includes one or more keywords used in search results (SERPs). Has a precedence over AND
Excludes criteria from Google. Use “NOT” for other search engines.
site: Displays search results that are limited to a specific website
intitle: Look for specific keywords in page title tag
Inurl: Displays results that have specific keywords in the website URL
“___“ Quotation marks will search for specific terms
filetype: Displays results for specific file types search as pdf, doc, jpg, etc.
(___) Parentheses will group search terms/keywords.  Google does not support this operator but other search engines may.
related: The related operator helps find websites that are similar to the specified URL.  This is a good way to find competitor sites.