With Google, the world of information is at your fingertips. You can freely explore that world and almost everything you are looking for is on Google. However, the world is so broad that sometimes you lose your way amid your journey.
Fortunately, there's always a shortcut for you to reach the destination. In this case, the shortcut is searching within a specific website using Google for a particular term or idea that you need. This approach can significantly reduce the irrelevant results and time you spend to find what you need. In this tutorial, I will go from scratch and onto the advanced Google site search features.
Benefits of searching a website on Google
Site search is the ability to search for content in just a single domain. Users can search for a specific keyword, topic, or just search the whole content of a website. Some sites have their own site search function for their users. For those who don’t have it, users can search a website using Google.
Using Google to search a website, you don’t have to sift through different links and scour page after page of results. Instead, you can focus your search on a single website and Google only returns results from the matching domain. There are several reasons why using Google to search for a site is a blessing.
The ability to find everything you need in a single domain
Searching within a website using Google comes in handy when the site that you want to search has a poor or even does not have a search feature at all. It’s also useful when you do not recall the specific piece of content you are looking for but still remember the website. Google can help shorten the searching process by pulling up all the relevant information on a single website. This way, you can get more insight and data, or even what your competitor is writing about a subject matter.
Some frequent use cases of searching within a website on Google can be:
- Search for data on another blog or website when you need it to strengthen your content.
- Search for topics when you want to check the uniqueness of your content.
- Surface content when you need to link your article to a piece of content. You may even find new gems that you didn’t know existed.
- Carry out competitive analysis when you want to know what your competitors are writing about.
The benefits go far beyond just information searching
- Spend less time scrolling through the result pages
Using Google to site search, you can see the results for your keywords, articles, or linking opportunities much faster than crawling every single page.
- Improve your SEO
You can learn how many of your pages get indexed by Google, find any issues of indexing on your site, and figure out ways to get your pages indexed faster and ranked higher.
- No tech skills needed
And the best comes last, you do not need any tech experience to do an on-site search. Just some quick steps and you will get the exact results you want instead of sifting through pages.
Guide to search within a website on Google
There are different techniques to carry out a site search. You can start from the basics like searching a whole site or searching for a specific phrase, and go on to more advanced features such as searching multiple keywords or even excluding keywords or sites from the search term. The common thing is that they are quite effortless as long as you have a specific website in your mind.
To search within a specific website, you need to follow the following three steps so that Google can recognize your intention.
Step 1: Type the Google search command
First thing first, open Google in your preferred browser and enter the following command in the search bar: site, colon, and the URL of the website. This photo will give you a clearer example.
By including URLs of the domain in the search terms, Google will narrow down the results to only from the website that I specified: avada.io. Everything from these websites will be pulled up, including all of the subdomains.
Make sure there is no space between each part of the command. You don’t need to include the scheme (HTTPS:// or HTTP://) and the subdomain “www.” of the URL. However, the domain extension, like .com, .org, or .io as we have here, is required.
Though I already said that you don’t need to include the “www.” part in your search term, please do pay close attention to other subdomains like blog., app., and so on. The results will change depending on what you enter before your domain name. We will go into more details later in this article.
Step 2: Refine your search
In case that you feel the results you get from site searching are still too broad, you may consider polishing your search up with a search phrase.
First, adding a single space to the previous search command (site, colon, and the URL of the website). Then type the search phrase to filter your search results. For instance, I want to search for Marketing related articles that were posted in 2020 on the AVADA website. The whole search phrase I enter will be:
This is very helpful when you want to search for a specific piece of content, data, or topics as sifting through a site only is time-consuming enough.
Step 3: Run the search
Now click on the magnifying glass icon, you will get the results in seconds and all of these will match your search phrase (if you have any) and come from the domain that you specified in the search operators.
Advanced Google site search features
After guiding you through the basic steps of site searching on Google, I will show you some advanced “tricks” to even more accurate and efficient Google site search.
Site-level search in Google
As mentioned above, I can polish the results up even further by focusing on only one subdomain of the site, like AVADA Blog (blog.avada.io) or AVADA Help Center (help.avada.io)
This will only return the results from the Blog section on the website. This is useful for those who want to search on large sites with many subdomains. So besides the domain name, you can also keep a specific subdomain in mind to get more precise search results.
Search for specific phrases
Different from refining the search with a search term or phrase, when searching for an exact phrase, you have to bracket the phrase in quotation marks.
For example, if I want to search for articles that include the phrase "Email marketing" within a website, I will search:
The search results page will only display the articles that have this exact phrase in them. If you tend to remember a specific phrase, this method is worth trying.
One way to make the most out of the quotation search method is using OR to combine the two quoted phrases in one query. Remember that the word OR must always be capital letters for Google to give correct results. To give you an example, let search the two phrases “email automation” and “newsletters.”
Notice that by combining two different words or phrases, you will get a larger set of results than those you get when you only search for one phrase. It's because Google will look for an article that contains the word “email automation” or “newsletters”. Here's the number of results you get by searching the phrase "email automation" only.
When you know that a site or a phrase is not helpful to your search, you can exclude it from your search query. You can do it by using the "-" (minus sign) in front of the search command “site:URL” or a quoted phrase.
For example, I want to search for email marketing related pages in the site avada.io but leaving out the results coming from the subdomain “help.avada.io”, I will type the following query into the search box:
Run the search and Google will automatically exclude any pages that concern email marketing in the help.avada.io. If you want to omit results from several websites together, you can add multiple commands to the query.
To exclude specific phrases, just do the same thing. Here, I will add “-” in front of the phrase “email marketing” to exclude it from my search results.
% include image.html src="https://cdn2.avada.io/media/resources/sZwM0GG.jpg" alt="" caption="" %}
It goes down from 4,440 results to 735 results just by excluding one phrase and one site. It works best when you know for sure what you are not looking for.
Search in titles, text, and URLs
I will end the tutorial today with one real advanced method, which is searching the page titles, text, and URLs. Precede your search phrase with the following term to search within a page’s title: intitle, the body of a page: intext, or a domain’s URL: inurl.
Here, I combine these with the site search commands to further refine the end results.
Search within a page's title
Search within the body of a page
Search within a domain's URL
When searching for information on any site, the Google site:search will cut the strain of sifting through pages and pages for the content you truly need. I hope that with these shortcuts that I show you, you can explore the world of information more efficiently and effectively. Of course, these are only the tip of the iceberg. There are a lot more tips and tricks that help you save time and get what you truly want. And I’m glad to share with you more in future articles.