Custom Search Help

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.

Advanced Search Operators

Custom Search Help Image

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.

inurl:/allinurl:

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.

Local Citations

  • inurl:directory // inurl:”business directory” // inurl:”submit business”
    These footprint/operator combinations do a great job on limiting your search to web directories, and are perfectly complemented with keywords which only provide the information on the directory’s location or industry of focus, so a valid search would look something like:
    • Boston plumbers inurl:”business directory”
      where the phrase ‘business directory’ would be expected in the URL of the page, and the words ‘Boston’ and ‘plumbers’ could occur anywhere on the page, together or not. The order of elements, i.e. keyword and operator/footprint combination is irrelevant, in other words, you’d get the same results for Boston plumbers inurl:”business directory” as you would for inurl:”business directory” Boston plumbers, and this goes for all the operators of this type.
  • allinurl: business directory Boston plumbers // allinurl: submit business directory

Resources & Links Pages

  • inurl:resources // inurl:additionallinks // inurl:”industry resources”
    Keywords used with this combination should topically define the query, or if you have a particular type of content to promote, mention that type:
    • my favorite math related links inurl:resources // agriculture whitepapers inurl:”industry resources”
  • allinurl: resources mathematics
    Just be careful, like all the all/somethings: allinurl is more restrictive than its in/something: counterpart - more often than not, not all of the terms you specify will be present in the page’s URL, which is why you should use this combination mostly for preliminary research

Forums

  • inurl:showthread // inurl:community // inurl: forum
    The first combination (inurl:showthread) does a great job of illustrating how careful you need to be when composing queries. While it is a great way to limit you search to forums, it is only present in some of the forum’s pages - i.e. the ones with open threads. This means that the keywords you are going to use also need to be ones typically found on those pages:
    • best gaming laptop inurl:showthread
  • allinurl: /forum automotive

Guest Blogging

  • inurl:”submit guest post” // inurl:”write for” // inurl:guest-blogger // inurl:”guest post guidelines”
    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.
    • nutrition tips inurl:”submit guest post” // writes about nutrition inurl:guest-blogger
  • allinurl: submit guest post nutrition

intext:/allintext:

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.

Local Citations

  • intext:”submit business” // intext:”submit listing” // intext:”provide business info”
    • boston intext:”submit business” // plumbers directory intext:”provide business info”
  • allintext: submit business to our Boston directory // allintext: provide business info plumbers directory

Resources & Links Pages

  • intext:”list of resources” // intext:”favorite links” // intext:”reading material” // intext:”additional references”
    • mathematics intext:”list of resources” // physics research intext:”favorite links”
  • allintext: list of mathematics resource // allintext: favorite links physics research

Forums

  • intext:"powered by SMF" // intext:"powered by Phbb" // intext:"join date" // intext:"group:forum members
    • best laptops intext:"powered by SMF" // shopping advice intext:”join date”
  • allintext: powered by SMF best laptops // allintext: join date shopping advice

Guest Blogging

  • intext:"this is a guest post by" // intext:"contributing writer" // intext:"guest author" // intext:”post submitted by”
    • nutrition intext:”this is a guest post by” // health tips intext:"guest author"
  • allintext: nutrition this is a guest post by // allintext: guest author health tips

intitle:/allintitle:

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.

Local Citations

  • intitle:directory // intitle:”register your company” // intitle:”local business directory”
    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.
    • dental services intitle:”boston business directory” // boston intitle:”dental services directory”
  • allintitle: denatal services boston local business directory

Resources & Links Pages

  • intitle:”suggested websites” // intitle:”recommended links” // intitle:resources
    • agriculture intitle:”additional reading” // nutrition intitle:”useful links”
  • allintitle: agriculture further reading // allintitle: useful nutrition links

Forums

  • intitle:forum // intitle:”online community” // intitle:”general discusion”
    • gaming intitle:”online community” // nutrition forum intitle:”general discussion”
  • allintitle: online gaming community // allintitle: nutrition forum general discussion

Guest Blogging

  • intitle:”post guidelines” // intitle:”submit a guest” // intitle:”blog contributors”
    • nutrition facts intitle:”submission guidelines” // favorite web design intitle:”write for us”
  • allintitle: write for our home improvement blog // allintitle: nutrition topics contributors

inanchor:/allinanchor:

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):

Local Citations

  • inanchor:”best boston directory” // inanchor:”free directory” // inanchor:”company website” (C)
    • dental service inanchor:”boston directory” // boston directory inanchor:”company website” (C)
  • allinanchor: free boston business directory // allinanchor: view business URL (C)

Resources & Links Pages

  • inanchor:”list of useful resources” // inanchor:”this interesting resource” (C) 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.
    • nutrition inanchor:”best resources” // agriculture inanchor:”informative study” (C)
  • allinanchor: best nutrition related resources // allinanchor: this page with useful information (C)

Forums

  • inanchor:”gaming forum” // inanchor:”reply to this post” // inanchor:”alert abuse” // inanchor:”try this store” (C)
    • laptops inanchor:”gaming forum” // pet shop inanchor:”try this store” (C)
  • allinanchor: laptops gaming forum // allinanchor: give this pet store a try (C)

Guest Blogging

  • inanchor:”my guest post on” // inanchor:”guest article for” // inanchor:”article contributed by” (C)
    • health tips inanchor:”my guest post on” // home improvement inanchor:”article contributed by” (C)
  • allinanchor: my health related guest post on // allinanchor: post contributed by nutirtion specialist (C)

Minus operator

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

site:

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.

site:facebook.com
Returns all of Facebook’s indexed pages as results

site:facebook.com/hypothetical-page
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.

AND

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

OR

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

Wildcard *

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

related:

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.

related:facebook.com
Returns the sites that Google finds similar to Facebook

filetype:

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.