2

I heard once that there are some search keywords or operators that google could use to enhance the search results. One of them was "NEAR"...

Say if I search

"make" NEAR "great again" 

it would search pages with "America" or (more recently "France":), but not the pages entited "Make Cookies" and where there is a comment in the bottom of the page "great again to see you, Steve!"

My question is how to know if that keyword is or is not used. Maybe it was removed, because it doesn't seem to work actually. Is there anywhere a more or less official list of Google search help keywords?

2

2 Answers 2

4

Google Search Operators: The Complete List (42 Advanced Operators) gives descriptions of the following 42 operators:

Operator Example
“search term” “steve jobs”
OR jobs OR gates / jobs
AND jobs AND gates
- jobs ‑apple
* steve * apple
( ) (ipad OR iphone) apple
$ ipad $329
define: define:entrepreneur
cache: cache:apple.com
filetype: apple filetype:pdf / apple ext:pdf
site: site:apple.com
related: related:apple.com
intitle: intitle:apple
allintitle: allintitle:apple iphone
inurl: inurl:apple
allinurl: allinurl:apple iphone
intext: intext:apple
allintext: allintext:apple iphone
AROUND(X) apple AROUND(4) iphone
weather: weather:san francisco
stocks: stocks:aapl
map: map:silicon valley
movie: movie:steve jobs
in $329 in GBP
source: apple source:the_verge
_ apple CEO _ jobs
info: / id: info:apple.com / id:apple.com
#..# wwdc video 2010..2014
inanchor: inanchor:apple iphone
allinanchor: allinanchor:apple iphone
blogurl: blogurl:microsoft.com
loc:placename loc:”san francisco” apple
location: loc:”san francisco” apple
+ jobs +apple
~ ~apple
inpostauthor: inpostauthor:”steve jobs”
allinpostauthor: allinpostauthor:steve jobs
inposttitle: intitle:apple iphone
link: link:apple.com
daterange: daterange:11278–13278
phonebook: phonebook:tim cook
# #apple

Those near the end are no longer supported.

Something like "make" AROUND(3) "great again" is what you were originally looking for.

1
2

Google Search Help has been used to list the search operators at https://support.google.com/websearch/answer/2466433. As of October 12, 2023, the page title is "Refine Google searches"; unfortunately, regarding punctuation, symbols and search operators, it only mentions site: and -. Another source is Google Search Central.

It's worth mentioning that Google has transitioned from a keyword-based search engine to one that supports natural language queries while still allowing the use of some search operators.

It includes embedded tools like a currency converter, translator, dictionary, and calculator, among others and provides knowledge boxes.

Recently, they launched Google Bard, their response to OpenAI ChatGPT and the hype around Artificial Intelligence / Large Language Model-based tools.

The above makes the craft of search queries based on keywords and search operators to be "old school". It might be time to switch to a "prompt engineering" mindset. This doesn't mean that search operators have disappeared, it's just that Google continually looks to make its search engine to be the most used one. Niche needs might have to look to specialized offerings that might have a different business model.

Punctuation, Symbols and Operators

According to https://www.spyfu.com/blog/google-search-operators/ the following search operators are deprecated: +, ~, inpostauthor:, allinpostauthor:, inposttitle:, info:, daterange:, phonebook:, #, blogurl:, inanchor:, allinanchor:, loc:placename, location:. Below I will discuss some of them, adding, when possible, references to official docs or quotes from authoritative sources, like Dan Russell, Matt Cutts, John Mueller.

+ (plus) symbol

The + has suffered several changes. It was used to force results to include the term preceded with this symbol; later, it was used concerning Google+ pages. Currently, it's no longer supported as a search operator.

Related

-(dash / minus) symbol

Exclude items containing the term.

Usage [term a] -[term b].

~ (tilde) and * (asterisk) symbols

These operators were retired.

The official confirmation of the deprecation of the ~ (tilde) operator is attributed to Dan Rusell in 2013.

I have not found official confirmation of the retirement of * (asterisk), but it's no longer included in official docs.

Related

" (double quote) symbol

Search the term, phrase or sentence as it was entered.

Usage "[term or phrase or sentence]".

Alternative: On the Tools menu, select Verbatim

Related

filetype: operator

Usage filetype:[file type or file externsion].

Example filetype:pdf.

related: operator

related: is no longer supported. Ref. Google Search Central Release Notes, July 2023:

July 18: Removed the related: operator from the search operators documentation, as it's no longer supported.

Reference

Keywords

Some keywords have the effect of making Google Search results show a special box. Some of these boxes are interactive.

Tool Usage Notes
Books
  • book about [topic]
  • what to read
  • Find books on Google
    Business Facts
  • [business name]
  • {2}
    Calculator / Math Arithmetic: + (addition), * (multiplication), - (subtraction), / (division), ^ (power)
    Trigonometrics: sine([number]), cosine([number]), etc.
    {1}
    Color Picker
  • color picker
  • {1}
    Currency Converter
  • [number] [currency] to [currency]
  • Current Time
  • time
  • time [location]
  • Competition Result/Score
  • [competition name]
  • [competitor a] vs [competitor b]
  • [team a] vs [team b]
  • Dictionary
  • define [term]
  • From Learn about Dictionary boxes on Google
    Tip: You’re likely to get a Dictionary result when you start your search with “Define” or “What’s the meaning of."
    Directions
  • directions from [place A] to [place B]
  • directions from [place A] near me
  • Grammar and Spelling
  • [query] grammar check
  • Learn about grammar check in Search
    Location Facts
  • [location name]
  • [address]
  • [zip code]
  • [region, country, city, landmark]
  • [place type] near me
  • {2}
    People Facts
  • [people name]
  • {2}
    Plot Function and Equations (Graph) Function and variable as parameter i.e. cos(x) {1}
    Pronunciation
  • pronounce [term]
  • Recipes
  • [recipe name]
  • [dish name] recipe
  • Shopping
  • [product category]
  • Manage shopping preferences on Google Search
    Stock Price
  • price [stock ticker]
  • Timer/Stopwatch
  • timer
  • timer [number] [time units]
  • stopwatch
  • Translate
  • translate [term] to [language]
  • [term] in [language]
  • Travel from Gmail
  • my reservations
  • my flights
  • my car reservation
  • bus tickets
  • my train tickets.
  • Get travel search results from Gmail
    Units Converter
  • [number] [units] to [units]
  • {1}
    Video (TV, Movies)
  • what to watch
  • Search for TV shows & movies on Google
    Weather Forecast
  • weather
  • weather [location]
  • Notes


    According to the Way Back Machine,

    Archive Title Puntuaction and Symbols Search Operators
    2013-12-01 Punctuation and symbols in search +, @, &, %, $, #, -, _ No search operator is mentioned
    2015-05-03 Seach Operators +, @, $, #, -, ", *, .., site:, link:, related:, OR, info:, cache:
    2017-02-15. Instead of a table, use headings. Refine web searches @, $, #, -, ", *, .., site:, related:, OR, info:, cache:

    Related

    6
    • is strange is so hard to find a thing of google that should be public and easy to find
      – serge
      Commented Oct 14, 2023 at 17:52
    • moz.com/learn/seo/search-operators
      – serge
      Commented Oct 14, 2023 at 17:58
    • @serge , the moz link has a lot of obsolete stuff, like the relate: operator, it also repeats several stuff already listed on the link of the previous answer. My focus on this answer is to use as sources the official docs. Regarding your previous comment, I used to participate in the Google Search Community in Spanish, I am Top Contributor / Product Expert (not sure if they changed my status to "alumni" as I haven't participated in the last 2-3 years.) During the time that I actively participated, I continually gave feedback about the Help Center and the canonical community posts. Commented Oct 14, 2023 at 18:01
    • Long story short, they invest more in what the people use most. My observation is that as only a few people use the docs, they assign a relatively small budget... so the docs managers should do the best that they can with the budget to keep the docs simple and low maintenance cost. Commented Oct 14, 2023 at 18:16
    • what bugdet do you need to list 10 operators and give an example? )
      – serge
      Commented Oct 19, 2023 at 15:20

    Your Answer

    By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

    Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.