Are exchanged or reciprocal links okay with Google?
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How to use search engines for SEO

How to use search engines for SEO

Google published an advanced SEO help page about using Google search operators to debug a site.

Google’s search operator search results are not tied to Google’s regular placement algorithm, and the index used is limited and out of date.

But even with these limitations, search operators provide useful information that can be used for search engine optimization related purposes

They are not useful for trying to learn about Google’s algorithm. But search engine operators are very helpful in learning more about a site.

The new documentation contains a statement about the limitations of the data:

“Because search operators are bound by indexing and retrieval limits, the Search Console URL Inspection Tool is more reliable for troubleshooting purposes.”

However, search operators can be used to find interesting information about a site.

The new documentation covers the following search operators:

Website: cache: related: src: image size:


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Website: Search Operator

The site search operator shows an example of the pages in Google. Not all pages are clear by Google’s warning, as it said search operators “are bound by indexing and retrieval limits.”

Site Search does not use Google’s standard placement algorithm and only displays a SAMPLE of indexed pages.

There has always been a random quality for all search operators and that makes them unreliable in terms of completeness and especially in trying to figure out placement or algorithm related factors.

This has been the case for all the search operators.

I use site: search as a quick and dirty way to find pages with specific keywords in, but I do so with the understanding that there are pages that may be missing.

For example, I had an issue with user-generated content where members of Apple devices cut and pasted non-UTF letter characters on the webpage, resulting in symbols instead of letters.


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Using a site: search operator, I was able to find many of them and have the site software rewrite the symbols into letters everywhere.

Google’s new support page says:

Find search results from a specific domain, URL or URL prefix. E.g:

Website: https: // “

cache: Search operator

Cache: Search Operator shows you Google’s cache of a web page, a copy of what the page looked like when Googlebot last crawled it.

Cache is a great way to find out if a site is hacked and showing different content to Google (disguise).

Google’s cache search engine support page has a warning:

“The current cached version may in some cases be incomplete or empty.

This may be because JavaScript actions on your page, which are responsible for creating the actual layout of the page, were blocked by your browser’s same policies of origin.

This is normal and not something to be solved. To see if a JavaScript action was blocked by the browser, look for errors in your browser’s developer console. ”

related: Search operator

The related: search operator is a good one. It tells you which other sites Google identifies as related to the site being searched.

The related: search operator can be helpful in telling you if there is something wrong with the content relevance if Google shows wildly unrelated sites as related.

How to use the related: search operator:

related: https: //

Google also has a warning about this search operator:

“The lack of your URLs appearing to be related: queries are not an indicator of the quality of your pages or any other search signal.

The relationship of URLs is generally calculated only for the most popular URLs on the Internet.

In addition, the data that drives the related: query operator is not updated in real time, so recent popular URLs may not appear in related results: search operator.

The related: search operator is not a good tool for troubleshooting specific URLs. ”

src: Hotlink Finder

Src: the search operator finds pages that link to an image.


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This is the example that Google’s src: search operator support page uses:


image size:

Image size: the search operator finds images of a certain size and is typically used with a site: search operator.

The two image search operators also have limitations.

Google’s warning is similar to previous warnings:

“Because image search operators are bound by indexing and retrieval limits, you may not see all the results that can be displayed for a standard search query.”

Use Google search operators

Google’s search operators have many uses, though not all uses may be obvious at first glance.

For example, I never needed image size: search operator, but there may come a day when I need to know if Google has crawled or indexed an image with specific image dimensions.


Read Google’s brand new list of search operators
Google Search Engineers Overview

Also read these other search operator pages

Website: Search Operator

cache: Search operator


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Google Image Search Operators

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