The purpose of Dibz is to allow you to combine advanced operator modified queries without having to deal with numerous open browser tabs, interruptive Google captcha, copying or scraping the results, and finally, filtering them manually, without helpful metrics and info to simplify the process. However, you can’t do that if you don’t have at least a basic understanding of how advanced search operators work and how they are used in this context.
While you don’t have to be as dogmatic if you know what you are doing, in order to explain the role that advanced operators have in our utility, we’re going to outline a basic approach to composing a search in Dibz.
The first step requires you to provide keywords that will specify your field of interest, location, niche, industry, person, or anything else that describes the peculiarities of what you are after.
The second part, the one involving the operators, allows you to specify the type of site/page that you are after.
For instance, if you are looking for websites that publish fitness related guest post, you would use the first step to specify the niche, i.e. fitness, but also (in subsequent rows) health, nutrition advice, exercise tips, etc. and you would use the second step to determine the type of page you want, for instance, you could only look for write-for-us pages, guest post guidelines pages, or pages with the actual guest posts published on the blogs you’ve thematically specified in the first step. This is achieved by skillfully combining advanced search operators and common footprints.
Footprints are little signatures that certain pages have, and that you’re bound to start recognizing as soon as you begin actively keeping an eye out for them. They can be found in the URLs of the pages, their copy, footers, meta titles, etc. So, let’s go over what we’ll take to be the basic anatomy of a Dibz query:
best nutrition tips inurl:”write for us”
- ‘best nutrition tips’ is the keyword; ‘inurl:’ the advanced operator; and ‘write for us’ footprint.
Since all rows from the first step are combined with each of the rows in the second, you could also use advanced operators in the first field, but if you are not perfectly comfortable with operators and the way they mix and match with each other, this might lead to invalid queries. Naturally, this would cost you nothing but a bit of time, since those queries would return 0 results, so feel free to experiment.
Now that we’ve established the terminology, we can explain what individual operators do; their syntax, i.e. how they combine with search terms or with each other; mention how they are utilized in our Research Types templates, and give you other examples of how you could use them in different searches.
Before going into each individual one, first we need to make a distinction between two groups of operators. There’s a binary subset of operators that come in two variants - in/something: and allin/something: - for instance, inurl: and allinurl: These two types instruct the search engine (and Dibz) to look in the same place, (URL) but to treat the rest of the query differently. In/something: operators need to be directly followed by the term (or a phrase in quotations, which instruct the search engine to treat the phrase as a whole, and return only pages with the phrase appearing exactly as you wrote it, word order and all) with no spaces between the colon and the first letter of the term (or the opening quote); and it can be combined with other operators or terms. On the other hand, allin/something: operator allows spaces between the colon and the term, does not require quotations, but returns all of the results containing any of the terms you’ve specified in any order; and it cannot be combined with anything else. In practice this looks as follows:
inurl:”write for us” + anything you might want to add, for instance ‘fitness blog’
allinurl: write for us fitness blog + nothing that you are expecting to see outside of URL, as everything follwing allinurl: command only checks that segment of the page, i.e. its URL
We’ll mention which of the operators also have an allin/something: variant, and how to use them, but won’t be explaining their syntax over and over again. We’ll provide several examples of their use, focusing on the ones we already added to our Research Templates (because of their nature, i.e. inability to be combined with anything else, there are no all/somethings: in our templates, so we’ll give them just a cursory glance), and mention keywords and footprints that generally work well with them in specific searches.
Already discussed, this command instructs the search engine to look for the terms or phrases following it in the URL of the pages that are to be served in the results.
Resources & Links Pages
Keywords used with this combination should topically define the query, or if you have a particular type of content to promote, mention that type:
As you can see, some of these combination target the coveted ‘write for us’ pages, while others (the third one, to be precise) target the pages listing the guest bloggers that have worked with the site (usually, depending on the blog, they might also lead to the ‘write for us’ page), again, meaning that you need to know which keywords to use with them.
Instructs the search engine to check the text/body of the page for the specified keywords. Since most of the ‘naked’ queries do the exact same thing anyway, this is usually reserved for situations where you have too many results and want to refine your search further. Likewise, as we want to introduce the operators gradually, we’ll stick to the format established above, even when the operator itself would not be required in a query, or even make a difference.
Resources & Links Pages
Similar to the previous two searches, intitle: command returns results where the provided keywords are contained in the meta title element of the page. Since this element is provided directly by webmasters, and doesn't have to follow the same rules as URLs, it’s a bit more intuition based than inurl: operator, otherwise they behave the same way.
Don’t get confused if you see a lot of your search phrases in the URL as well, as it will, naturally, often match the meta title - the instances where it doesn’t, and where the URL is, for instance, just a string of nonsensical characters, make intitle: operator a great complement to the inurl: modified searches.
Resources & Links Pages
One the advanced operators that seem to be causing the most confusion, inanchor: returns pages which have been linked to from other sites (or other pages of the site being returned) with the anchor specified after the colon. So, to reiterate, it doesn't return page holding links with specified anchors, but the ones to which those links are leading. As such, this operator is sometimes more useful for finding competitors whose backlinks you might want to go through for prospects, instead of finding the prospects directly, as entering keywords you want to rank for will return pages with tons of links leading to them with those anchors. With that in mind, let’s look at some examples of its use - marking the competitor focused searches with (C):
Resources & Links Pages
Again, like in the example above, you’ll use the footprint typical for the site you want to get a link from when looking for prospects, and a footprint that you might use in an anchor to your site when looking for interesting competitors for backlink analysis.
Moving away from dual operators, we won’t necessarily be providing examples for different types of search anymore, but simply list the ways in which the described operator can be useful. Minus operator or dash (-) is used to exclude the terms and phrases directly following it from the search results. It can be combined with different operators, and is a real time-saver.
inurl:”write for us” -intext:”sponsored posts” nutrition
Returns write for us pages which don’t mention sponsored posts but do have something to do with nutrition
inurl:addyourbusiness -intext paid
Returns business directory pages which don’t contain the word paid, leading you, presumably, to free web directories
An amazingly useful operator, allowing you to use Dibz (or Google search, to an extent) as an improvised web scraper. This command allows you to limit your search to a single website or Top Level Domain, or to exclude a site or a TLD from the search results. Since it combines well with other operators (and itself, meaning you can include or exclude more than one site or TLD) it does wonders when you know how to use it.
Aside from helping with prospecting, when followed just by a domain, this operator also allows you to see which pages of the domain have been indexed by Google, or when followed by a specific page, lets you know whether that page made it into the index.
Returns all of Facebook’s indexed pages as results
Returns this page as a result if the page has been indexed, or an empty results page, if it hasn’t
site:facebook.com “digital marketing group”
Returns all the pages on Facebook containing the phrase ‘digital marketing group’
site:facebook.com site:twitter.com site:linkedin.com digital marketing group
Returns all of the pages on all of the listed sites containing any of the words following them - ‘digital’, ‘marketing’ or ‘group’.
“digital marketing group” -site:facebook.com -site:twitter.com
Returns all the found pages containing the phrase ‘digital marketing group’ except the ones found on Facebook or Twitter, making it extremely useful when you need to narrow down your search by eliminating irrelevant results.
site:.com.au “digital marketing group”
Returns all the .com.au websites with the desired phrase, and limits the search just to those websites. The dot before ‘com.au’ is optional, and naturally, you can add more TLDs to the mix
site:com.au -site:co.uk digital marketing group
Returns pages mentioning any of the terms, on all sites except the ones with .com.au and .co.uk TLDs.
This operator instructs the search engine and Dibz to return only the pages containing all the terms or phrases surrounding the operator. It needs to written in all caps, and affords flexibility in word order that quotations don’t. It can be combined with other operators.
dogs AND “puppy food”
Returns the pages containing both the word ‘dogs’ and the phrase puppy food
inurl:dogs AND intext:”puppy food” store
Returns the pages containing the word ‘dog’ in their URL, the phrase ‘puppy food’ in text, and may contain the word store, but don’t necessarily have to - another AND would have to be added before ‘store’ for this condition to have the same weight as the previous two
Another operator which needs to be written in caps, it can also be replaced with a pipe character (|). It is amazingly useful in combination with other operators, as it allows you to vastly expand your search, without sacrificing accuracy. Basically, OR instructs the search engine to return pages that contain either of the elements surrounding it. This makes it extremely convenient for searches where you want to include different variations of a particular footprint, which would, without the operator, probably fail to return any results due to the conflicting requirements. If you test the query in Google, you’ll see the number of search results rising with each additional OR preceded term.
inurl:"write us" | inurl:"writers guidelines" | inurl:"write for us" | inurl:"submission guidelines" | inurl:"contribute an article" | inurl:"submit an article" | inurl:"writing guidelines" | inurl:"publish a guest" | inurl:"guest post" digital marketing
Returns all the listed versions of ‘write for us’ pages mentioning digital marketing, making it one of the best ways to look for guest posting opportunities. Naturally, you could add more ORs after ‘digital marketing’ if you wanted to give different options for keywords as well, but you’d need to use quotations in that case:
inurl:"write us" | inurl:"writers guidelines" | inurl:"write for us" | inurl:"submission guidelines" | inurl:"contribute an article" | inurl:"submit an article" | inurl:"writing guidelines" | inurl:"publish a guest" | inurl:"guest post" “digital marketing” | “inbound marketing” | SEO | SEM
The asterisk symbol can be used as a placeholder to indicate that a word or phrase should occupy its place in the results. While it sometimes makes the search invalid and probably shouldn’t be used too often, it can help when you have to use the quotations, but don’t want to be limited to the exact phrase you’ve provided.
”digital * marketing”
Returns the results which may contain one or several words between the words ‘digital’ and ‘marketing’. However, when you try the following search:
inurl:”digital * marketing”
Google fails to return a single result, so if you intend to use this symbol in Dibz, you might want to first test the combination in Google and see if it works
Using this operator almost seems like cheating, so if your job gets too easy after reading this, don’t blame us. It can only be followed by an URL (no spaces after the colon) and returns all the pages that Google considers similar to the one you’ve provided. Naturally, Google’s idea of what is similar won't often correspond to yours, but you are still likely to get at least something of interest. If you only have one interesting prospect page, you can run it through Google preceded by related: take note of all the interesting pages, than do the same for each of them, and so on. After a while, you might realize that you are getting the same sets of pages returned, but by that time, you would have usually already managed to find more than a fair share of new prospects.
Returns the sites that Google finds similar to Facebook
Followed directly by a file extension (.doc, .pdf etc.) instructs the search engine to return only pages with the specified extension. It can be combined with other operators, but is not always completely reliable.
filetype:pdf “marketing study”
Returns marketing studies published online as PDFs.