Last year I wrote about how to use Google search to help your SEO and this is a continuation of that. You may be surprised to see what you can get out of a few search strings.
Basic Keyword Searches
Ok this is beginner stuff, but it’s important to cover really quick.
+keyword - This forces inclusion of a keyword in your string.
Example: Jeremy Morgan +SEO
-keyword - Obviously a search that excludes the keyword.
Using quotes makes sure you search an exact phrase, such as
“SEO Services in Portland”
Will show only results with this exact phrase.
keyword1 OR keyword2 - The OR operator lets you search for either or both keywords.
Search a Site
There are several ways to search a website, which is useful for surveying your competition.
shows a listing of everything Google spiders for their site. You can even do it by directory:
But you can take it a step further, and find your competitors.
intitle:keyword - This search restricts results to only those with the keywords in the title.
inanchor:keyword - This search will show you backlinks to a site based on keywords specified. Useful for discovering how many backlinks your competitor has.
intext:keyword - Restricts results to pages that include keyword(s) in the body text.
You can add allin to your search to narrow it down with multiple keywords such as this:
allinurl: seo blog
This will return results that include only both terms mentioned in a url.
Some other examples:
This is one of the best ways to find out who’s competing for the same keywords.
More Analysis Options
author: - This one is good if you have someone who is identifying themselves as an author for the site using Rich Snippets. You can find everything they’re posting online.
info: - Shows some generic information about the site, may be able to glean some tips from that.
~keyword - Notice the tilde… this can be useful because it shows the keyword results plus related keywords. Great way to start branching out.
site:competition.com - inurl:www - You can use this to check if your competitor has canonicalization problems.
I hope this helps you a little bit with your link analysis. Remember that it’s not just your own site you need be concerned with but also those of your competitors. Watch what they’re doing, and see what works and what doesn’t. Use as many of these free Google tools as you can to scope out your competition. Good luck!