Google Advanced Search: Google Search Tricks for Ecommerce

Google advanced search lets you cut through internet clutter – and there’s no shortage of clutter on the internet – to zero in on exactly the search results you are looking for.

Google advanced search has applications for web users of all stripes, and especially for ecommerce entrepreneurs: Simple google search tricks make it easier to identify opportunities, scope out competitors, and understand how Google (and Google users) sees your store.

After all, you don’t always want Google to give you 5,010,371 pages to choose from. Sometimes you want to know something precise. For example, which websites are linking to your store. Or how easy it is to find products in your store. Or what your competitors are selling.

Now, not all advanced Google searches are relevant for ecommerce. For example, Google Search’s nifty “timer” feature – which opens up a timer if you type something like “15 minutes timer” – probably isn’t going to help you scale. But there are a number of Google advanced searches that will turn Google Search into your personal market research lab.

This post will go over the most useful advanced Google search features, and look at how you can use them to optimize your ecommerce business.

What is Google Advanced Search?

Google advanced search is a way to customize your Google searches with a set of special instructions. Known as operators and commands, these advanced Google search instructions tell Google that you don’t want to search the entire internet, front to back and top to bottom, and are instead interested in more specific queries.

Your parents probably wouldn’t ever use advanced Google search. A couple reasons why. First off, the commands that you have to feed Google are simple but not necessarily obvious; it would be hard to guess Google advanced search commands. Second, your parents probably wouldn’t need to use advanced Google search. These searches are designed to run very specific, particular queries.

This might all make more sense once we look at some examples, so let’s dive in.

Exact Search

What it is: Exact search is the most basic advanced Google search. (Your parents actually probably could pull this one off.) All you’re doing with this Google search trick is putting quotation marks around your search terms. This tells Google that you want results for exactly what’s inside the quotes. Google is already pretty good at mind-reading, but these quotes let you remove any confusion and ensure the most relevant results.

When to use it: Use this advanced Google search when you only want results that contain a precise phrase.

What it looks like:

OR Search

What it is: Using OR (it has to be upper-case!) lets you search for multiple separate search terms. Unlike the exact search, which narrows your results, this advanced Google search broadens your query to bring you more results.

When to use it: There are a couple scenarios where you might want to use this Google advanced search. First, it is great for when you are looking for information that might be found with multiple search terms, like “french press” and “cafetiere”. It’s also good if you don’t know the best phrase to find the info the info you’re looking for.

NOTE: If the OR isn’t upper-case, then Google might think you’re trying to figure out a linguistic question, like whether you should use towards or toward. This will bring up results explaining how British English and American English differ. So remember – OR!

What it looks like:

Exclusion Search

What it is: This advanced Google search lets you exclude certain items from your search results. It’s like ordering a cheeseburger and telling the chef to hold the ketchup. This way you can conduct an internet-wide search but ignore results containing your excluded terms.

When to use it: This Google search trick is great for when a word has multiple meanings. If you want browse plants on Amazon, for instance, and don’t want Google to think that you are researching ecological diversity in the Amazon rainforest, then this is the Google advanced search to use.

What it looks like:

Site Search

What it is: This is an advanced Google search that lets you zero in on a specific website or domain. With site search, you are telling Google that you don’t want to search the entire web, but instead just a particular site.

When to use it: This is an awesome Google advanced search trick with multiple applications. Ecommerce entrepreneurs can use it to scope out competitors’ websites. Let’s say you’re in the yoga niche, and you want to know if your competitors over at yogastuff.com are selling a certain item. You can tell Google to search only that competitor’s website. You can also use this Google search trick to look for certain words and phrases on your own site. This is especially helpful if you want to search for potential duplicate products or content.

What it looks like:

NOTE: Oh! This Google search trick has an opposite – instead of typing site:yogastuff.com, you type -site:yogastuff.com. Then you’ll be searching the entire web with the exception of that one site.

Related Search

What it is: The related search advanced Google search lets you find websites that are similar to one another. When you do a related search, Google will spit out results for sites that are in the same ballpark as the one you have singled out.

When to use it: For ecommerce aficionados, related search is perfect for scoping out competition. You can plug in your site to a related search, and then Google will automatically pull up other sites on the web that are similar. This would let you do some market research on the products they are selling, prices, and more.

What it looks like:

Price search

What it is: Price search is an advanced Google search command that lets you tell Google to find a specific product at a specific price. So instead of going to an online store to look for something, you can use Google to search the entirety of the web. You just type in a product, followed by a price (use a dollar sign to specify that you’re looking for a price).

When to use it: As an ecommerce store owner, you can use this Google advanced search to see how products in your niche are priced. If you are in the pet niche and you want to add a dog sweater to your store, then use the price search to find a range for dog sweater prices around the web.

What it looks like:

NOTE: There’s a hack you can add to this advanced Google search: Make it a price range instead of an exact price. This price range Google search trick lets you dig a little deeper as you investigate how to price your products. To use a range instead of an exact number, simply add two periods between the prices in your price range. Like so: dog sweater $13..$17.

Link Search

What it is: Unlike a normal search, where Google scours the web for certain terms, link search is an advanced Google search for finding links between websites. If any website links to the site in your search, you’ll see it in the search results.

When to use it: Use this advanced Google search when you want Google to know that you’re not interested in content, but rather the links contained within that content. So if you want to know, for example, which websites are linking to your website, use link search. You might also use it to look at which websites are linking to your competition so that you can reach out and get a link of your own.

What it looks like:

All In Title, All In Text, and All In URL

What it is: We’re lumping these three advanced Google search tricks together because they perform the same function – just on different parts of the page.

All in title lets you track down pages that have a specific set of words in the title, and discard pages that don’t have the magical text in the title. All in text does the same, but instead of scanning titles, it’s an advanced Google search that scans text of posts and pages. Finally, all in URL lets you – you guessed it. You can find pages that have certain terms in the URL.

When to use it: These advanced Google search tricks are awesome for determining the most common phrasing that your competition uses for certain products. You could try to outrank them on those same phrases, or you could combine advanced Google search results with keyword research to identify low-hanging fruit. For example, if you sell smartphone accessories, and you notice that there are thousands of titles, pages, and URLs that contain “smartphone case” but very few that contain “smartphone holder,” you might have just identified a micro-niche that is underserved.

What it looks like: (“allintitle” can be swapped out for “allintext” and “allinurl”)

NOTE: You can ditch the “all” in any of these advanced Google searches to combine search queries. For example, if you want to know whether “durable” is a big selling point for other stores selling iPhone cases, you could do a search like this: iphone cases intext:durable. That would give you a Google search for iPhone cases, and limit things to iPhone cases that are described in the text as being durable. You could do the same search but use intitle instead of intext, showing you which iPhone case providers think durability is important enough to mention in the title of a page.


What it is: Autocomplete – yes, that same autocomplete that we use to find song lyrics and movie titles – can be used as part of your advanced Google search arsenal. Google knows which terms and phrases people use in combination, and will fill in the blanks whether you are looking for elusive words to an early-90s chorus or doing market research for your ecommerce store.

When to use it: Ecommerce merchants can use autocomplete for a variety of functions. For example, you can compare products; determine which products often appear together; and figure out the keywords and phrases that Google most commonly associates with your products.

What it looks like:

Missing Words

What it is: This is a more formal way of doing the same sort of thing that you’d do with autocomplete. Instead of starting a search query and then letting Google suggest ways to finish it, you tell Google exactly which piece of the puzzle you’re missing.

When to use it: If you want Google to fill in a blank for you, then you’ll want to use the missing words advanced Google search. This Google search trick is often used to finish a phrase. For example, cry over * milk.

What it looks like:

Bonus! Funny Google Advanced Searches

Before we wrap things up, here are three goofy Google search tricks that will help you kill a minute or two.

Google “do a barrel roll” and the Google search page will literally spin in a circle.

Google “google in 1998” to see what Google search looked like a decade ago.

Google “define anagram” – which is a word or phrase created by moving around the letters from different words or phrases – and Google will ask, “Did you mean: nerd fame again”. Get it?

Want to Learn More?

Categories: Ecommerce Tips & Tricks
David Vranicar: David Vranicar is a Content Marketer for Oberlo. He wants to give shop owners the tools they need to go from first sale to scale. Follow David on Twitter at @davidvranicar.
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