Many newcomers to search don't realise just how powerful Google Search is for diagnosing search-related issues. It's easy to forget that once all we had were advanced search 'operators'. Executing these operators can show you pages that have been indexed, help you track down duplicates and more. Head to Google, and try these queries:
Shows you all of the pages indexed by Google. The 'about 821 results' section shows an approximate number of pages indexed. If that number seems much too high, you may have a problem.
Only shows pages indexed on your site that contain 'www' in the URL. Using – inurl:www will display only results for your site that do not contain 'www' in the URL. This is very useful for finding indexed sub domains you may not have otherwise been aware of.
site:yourdomain.com "text goes here"
Shows pages on your domain that contain an exact string of text. Try searching for a common error message, such as: "Sorry but we're out of stock" or "This page is no longer available".
site:yourdomain.com intitle:"text goes here"
Shows pages that contain an exact string of text in the <title> element on a page.
Shows mentions of your brand name without including results from your website. This is a terrific way to find authoritative mentions of your brand name.
Shows results for PDF files on a site. The filetype: operator works for nearly all file formats.
Words: Richard Baxter
This article originally appeared in net issue 258.
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