Search Engine Boolean Operators

Google search engine | August 12th, 2007 | 3 Comments

The fact that search engines search for all the keywords in a search phrase or one single keyword of a phrase it depends on the value of the boolean operator used in the search term. For different search engines, this value could be AND (defines that the search should be made for all the given keywords in the search phrase) and OR (defines to search for one or another keyword, not necessary to be in the same phrase).

If the boolean connector AND is used in a search term Google will attempt to find both given keywords for the search term. Ex. lets perform a search in Google for

seo and directory submission

Google will search for the keyword SEO and for directory submission and will display results of pages that contain both given keywords. While if we perform a search for

seo or directory submission

Google search engine will display results about pages containing the word SEO or directory submission, the OR it tells the search engine that any given result that have the word SEO or Directory Submission is what you are looking.

If you would like to search for more terms that are related to the same search you can make a combination like

seo or services or directory submission

performing a search with those given keywords you tell the search engine that you want results of pages that contain the word SEO or Services or Directory Submission, which would not give exact results. To have a slightly better search engine results you can make a combination of the given keywords and group them, example.

seo (services | directory submission)

This search term will give us better results and display in the SERPs pages that contain a combination of the keyphrases SEO services or Directory submission services. As you note in this search we have used | instead of OR. The | sign in the programming language it means OR so it can be easily replaced (now maybe you start to figure out why many use that sign in their title, like SE Optimization | Search Engine Optimization even tho i use hyphens (-))

Excluding a keyword from a search phrase

If you prefer to specify that one element of the query should not be included in the search engine results page for your given query you can add a hyphen in front of that undesired keyword. Excluding a keyword from a search term is mainly used when you are looking for a specific product but you don’t like results for that brand. Lets presume you perform a search query for cheap MP3 Players but you do not want results on pages that contain Philips MP3 Players this is how you can exclude the Philips brand from the search query

cheap mp3 player -Philips

By using the hyphen in front of the the keyword Philips Google search engine will exclude that keyword and will display on the search engine page results (SERPs) only sites or pages that contain the keywords cheap mp3 player but will not contain the word Philips in that page/site.

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3 Responses to “Search Engine Boolean Operators”
  1. […] the boolean operators, Google search engine offers special syntax for extended and to better focus your search […]

  2. […] Few days ago I received an email from a new online mate of mine for which I did worked for a WordPress theme design. His concern was the sudden drop in traffic and of course I understand him to be worried enough and have doubts on the theme I had, even tho his layout has the exact identical coding structure as the SEO Optimization’s theme has. After several email exchanges I did notice he had changed the title of his homepage from a short and keyword rich into a more descriptive but with stop words in it (read search engine boolean operators). […]

  3. Great post. Really enjoyed it.