How to Use Google to Search Within a Website
Are you getting frustrated trying to search a certain website for a particular section, page, product, recipe, etc. but simply cannot find what you’re looking for using the website’s search function? Or worse, the website you’re trying to search doesn’t even have a search bar. If this is taking its toll on you, I have good news. You can easily search any website indexed by Google using the following command.
Site Search via Google
Head over to google.com and in the search bar type the following (replacing websitedomain.com with the domain name of the website you want to search and keyword with what you’re looking for):
That’s it! You are now using the world’s most powerful search engine to find whatever it is you’re looking for on whichever website you are looking for it. But what if you’ve done a site search and still cannot find what you’re seeking? You could modify your search…
Advanced Site Searches with Modifiers
Unlike just about every website’s search functionality, on Google you can add modifiers – commonly referred to as search operators.
What is a modifier/operator?
Google search operators are special characters often used in conjunction with keywords when conducting a query to either show or eliminate specific results from within the index.
5 Most Commonly Used Search Operators
Modifying a site search via Google can be quite useful. Here are some common examples of using operators and why.
1. Finding an Exact Phrase
Let’s say you remember that the content you’re looking for contains a specific phrase or string of words. You can then use quotation marks around your keywords to find it, like so:
site:marthastewart.com “traditional devil’s food”
2. Eliminating/Including Search Results that Mention a Specific Term
Let’s say you’re looking for a certain double chocolate cake recipe from Martha Stewart. You might use the above operator with double chocolate in quotation marks as opposed to traditional devil’s food but when you conduct your query, you find there are approximately 1,600 results (not very helpful). You can try adding a minus sign ( – ) before certain words to eliminate their corresponding pages from the results, like so:
site:marthastewart.com “double chocolate” -brownies -cookies
Similarly, you could add a plus sign ( + ) before certain words to ensure only their corresponding pages are included in the results, like so:
site:marthastewart.com “double chocolate” +cholesterol-free
3. Searching for Keywords within URLs
Continuing on with the same chocolate cake example, let’s say you wrote down the recipe page URL at some point and remember that the keywords chocolate cake was in it. You could display only specific pages that have your keywords in the URL like so:
site:marthastewart.com inurl:double chocolate
4. Searching for Keywords within the Meta Title
For those who don’t know, the meta title of a website is different to the one you see as the title of the article, product, or tool you’re viewing (though it can, but doesn’t always, contain the exact same verbiage). Google displays the meta title as the big blue link that accompanies every search result. So if you remember the keywords within the meta title, you can conduct a modified search like so:
site:marthastewart.com intitle:double chocolate
5. Finding Related Content
Let’s say you love double chocolate anything and you want to see what other recipes Martha has. You can search for all double chocolate recipes, like so:
site:marthastewart.com related:double chocolate
More Advanced Google Searches You Can Do
Image source: zapier.com
If you’re still not finding what you’re looking for on a given website, I find it hard to believe. But if you need even more search modifiers, check out this list of 42 advanced search operators from Ahrefs.
Not being able to properly search a website is one of the most common frustrations I see in novice digital marketers. But as soon as they see how much better Google is at searching a website, their annoyance quickly changes to glee (as I’m sure yours already has or will soon). Please note that if a website in its entirety is not indexed by Google, you will not be able to use this technique to search all of the content within the domain.