One of the basic tools of the trade for an SEO practitioner is the search engines themselves. They provide a rich array of commands that can be used to perform advanced research, diagnosis, and competitive analysis. Some of the more basic operators are:
Excludes the keyword from the search results. For example,
loans -student shows results for
all types of loans except student
Allows for forcing the inclusion of a keyword. This is
particularly useful for including stopwords
(keywords that are normally stripped from a search query because
they usually do not add value, such as the word
the) in a query, or if your keyword is getting
converted into multiple keywords through automatic stemming. For
example, if you mean to search for the TV show The
Office, you would want the word The
to be part of the query. As another example, if you are looking for
Patrick Powers, who was from Ireland, you would search for
patrick powers + Ireland to avoid irrelevant
results for Patrick Powers.
Shows search results for the exact phrase—for example,
Shows results for at least one of the
These are the basics, but for those who want more information, what follows is an outline of the more advanced search operators available from the search engines.
Google supports a number of advanced search operators (http://www.google.com/support/websearch/bin/static.py?hl=en&page=guide.cs&guide=1221265&answer=136861&rd=1 ...