How to Use Advanced Google Queries for SEO, Outreach and Link Building

Over on a discussion at the Search Engine Land LinkedIn group, I was asked to by user Hiten S to provide more details on advanced Google queries for SEO.

I thought I’d write a blog post here and provide the link, as the reply would be a little too long for a LinkedIn comment! So, Hiten – this post is for you!

Advanced Google Queries For Blogger Outreach

To find guest posts, you can use Google’s blog search, however personally I prefer to use straight Google search.

For each of the below, you can swap “internet marketing” for your keyphrase.

“internet marketing” inanchor:”guest post”
Using the ‘inanchor’ operator can be a good way to find posts that have the words ‘guest post’ in a link – usually the URL, or a link to a ‘guest post’ category.

“internet marketing” intitle:”guest post”
‘intitle’ works well, as this can find the word ‘guest post’ in the title of a blog post.

“internet marketing” intext:”guest post by”
This can work quite well, as you are trying to find the string ‘guest post by’, which is quite likely to return guest posts!

“internet marketing” inanchor:”write for us”
“internet marketing” intitle:”guest post”
“internet marketing” intitle:”become a contributor”
“internet marketing” inanchor:”become a contributor”

Ruling Out Blogging Platforms

If you’re looking for guest posts but want to avoid specific platforms, such as WordPress or blogger hosted blogs, you can use the above queries with the following suffixed on the end:
(add other domains to rule them out)

Finding Platform Specific Blogs

Conversely, if you wish to find specific blog platforms to submit guest posts on:

“internet marketing”
“internet marketing”
“internet marketing” intext:”powered by wordpress”
“internet marketing” intext:”powered by typepad”

Finding Bloggers That Are on Google Plus

If you’d like to find bloggers who are on Google Plus and also may accept guest posts, try these queries:

“me on google plus” “internet marketing” intitle:”guest post”
“google plus profile” “internet marketing” intitle:”guest post”

Alternatively (this isn’t using advanced queries!), if you’re up for more manual work, try doing a search on Google Plus itself:

To Find Sites That Accept Links

Be very careful with this one! Avoid any low-quality links/sites like the plague!

“internet marketing” intitle:”submit site”
“internet marketing” intitle:”add site”

Competitor Research

Another SEO tactic is to snoop on your competitors and their tactics using Google’s advanced queries…

To find your competitors guest posts:

Of course you can run a backlink check to help, but that’s for another post! Here’s how advance Google queries can help:

Let’s pretend that the clothing retailer Asos was a competitor of ours, or our client.

An initial query finds some guest posts by them:

“for Asos” intitle:”guest post”
Note: I added ‘for’ as I am hoping to find an author bio explaining the author works for, or is writing for Asos. As you can see in the image, this worked (a little!):

asos posts

So that gives us a few ideas for guest posts for our clients – but why stop there? Visit each post:

  • Find the authors name
  • Search “author name” “guest post”
  • Search “author name” “competitor Name”

The above can reveal yet more targets.

Monitoring Competitors Press Releases:

You can also monitor your competitors press releases and see where they get picked up – consider the best of them for your PR outreach campaigns.

“for Asos” intitle:”press release”

Adding the -site: command at the end avoids getting lots of results from the competitors site.

Google Advance Search Queries For Reputation Management

In addition to link building, you can use Google queries for keeping an eye on your or your clients online reputation (although if you charge for this service, you should really be using professional tools as well).

Let’s switch now and pretend Asos is our site – or our client:

“asos” “complaints”
This basic search already reveals someone issues:

asos rep

Another query:

“asos” “rip off”

Reveals more problems. These are just a couple of examples – get creative and test out more ways to find complaints! Responding to such issues can often help save your or your client’s online reputation. Don’t stick your head in the sand!

NOTE: Using queries like this you can find complaints about pretty much ANY big brand or retailer. Asos are, as far as I’m aware, a great company and this post is in no way meant to say otherwise, it’s more to highlight the need for large, popular brands to monitor results like this (and more).

Regular Scan For Reputation Management Issues

Of course there are some great rep management tools out there (we use some ourselves for clients), but you can also monitor things like this for free…

Head to:


Set-up a Google alert for ‘as it happens’ to get emails of new pages Google indexes that conform to your query. You can do this for any of the queries we’ve talked about today, so it’s useful for regularly monitoring:

  • Reputation management
  • Blogger Outreach
  • Competitor Analysis

All automated and delivered to you by Google, via email – ‘as it happens’ 🙂


That’s just a few examples of how Google advanced search queries can be useful for SEO and SEOs… Get creative and think of your own!

Use different queries yourself already? Read this post and figured out some new ones you like? Please commend below and share with others!

Further Reading:

7 responses to “How to Use Advanced Google Queries for SEO, Outreach and Link Building”

  1. This is a great post. I’ll be using this info for a long time. Thank you for sharing it.

    • Avatar for Mike Gracia Mike Gracia says:

      No problems Andrew. Real estate can be a pretty tough sector so I hope some of those queries come in useful for you!

  2. Avatar for Mike Gracia Kaushal says:

    Thanks for all in one guide for how advance operator works in Google. If I have to conclude in one word “awesome” Mike. I like the outreach queries part.

  3. Avatar for Mike Gracia Hiten says:

    Hi Mike,
    I am thankful for your taking time out for writing these valuable suggestions to me. I appreciate your interest in communicating your views and value your suggestions highly. I would like to remain in touch with you for your periodic suggestions and feedback. Once again thanks a million for such valuable post.

    • Avatar for Mike Gracia Mike Gracia says:

      Hi Hiten – Not a problem! Thanks for taking the time to comment, and I’m here anytime you want to chat (I will also be on the Search Engine Land LinkedIn group, of course).

  4. Avatar for Mike Gracia Dave B says:

    Hopefully I can turn your info into the most successful SEO tip of 2014. Thanks for your help and the time it took to write this post.
    All the best,

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