Browse Definitions:
Definition

search operator

Contributor(s): Ivy Wigmore

A search operator (sometimes referred to as a search parameter) is a character or string of characters used in a search engine query to narrow the focus of the search.

In mathematics and computer science, operators are characters or sequences of characters that represent an action or cause an action to be performed. Boolean operators are commonly used in search. AND, for example, indicates that Web pages in the results must contain both the word or phrase preceding it and the word (or phrase) following it. NOT indicates that pages in search results should not contain the word or phrase after it. OR indicates that the pages in search results should include any of the terms on either side in the query rather than pages that contain both or all terms.

Other search operators are usually placed directly in front of a query word or phrase, with no intervening space. Multiple operators can be combined in a query to further narrow the focus of a search.

Here are a few examples of advanced Google search operators:

  • site: followed (without a space) by a website or domain returns files located there.
  • filetype: followed by a file extension returns files of the specified type, such as DOC, PDF, XLS and INI. Multiple file types can be searched for simultaneously by separating extensions with “|”.
  • inurl: followed by a particular string returns results with that sequence of characters in the URL.
  • intext: followed by the searcher’s chosen word or phrase returns files with the string anywhere in the text.

Search operators can be combined in a search query to fine-tune a search. A complex search engine query is sometimes referred to as a Google dork query, is sometimes used to find information that is not purposefully made available by a site owner. The practice, also known as Google hacking, is often recommended as a way to discover site vulnerabilities that need attention. 

In this video, Andreas Johansson demonstrates how to use Google search operators:

This was last updated in September 2014

Continue Reading About search operator

Start the conversation

Send me notifications when other members comment.

By submitting you agree to receive email from TechTarget and its partners. If you reside outside of the United States, you consent to having your personal data transferred to and processed in the United States. Privacy

Please create a username to comment.

-ADS BY GOOGLE

Extensiones de Documento y Formatos de Documento

Accionado por:

SearchCompliance

SearchSecurity

  • copyright

    Copyright is a legal term describing ownership of control of the rights to the use and distribution of certain works of creative ...

  • keylogger (keystroke logger or system monitor)

    A keylogger, sometimes called a keystroke logger or system monitor, is a type of surveillance technology used to monitor and ...

  • password

    A password is an unspaced sequence of characters used to determine that a computer user requesting access to a computer system is...

SearchHealthIT

SearchDisasterRecovery

  • call tree

    A call tree -- sometimes referred to as a phone tree -- is a telecommunications chain for notifying specific individuals of an ...

  • mass notification system (MNS)

    A mass notification system is a platform that sends one-way messages to inform employees and the public of an emergency.

  • disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS)

    One approach to a strong disaster recovery plan is DRaaS, where companies offload data replication and restoration ...

SearchStorage

  • RAID (redundant array of independent disks)

    RAID (redundant array of independent disks) is a way of storing the same data in different places on multiple hard disks to ...

  • data migration

    Data migration is the process of transferring data between data storage systems, data formats or computer systems.

  • compact disc (CD)

    A compact disc is a portable storage medium that can be used for recording, storing and playing back audio, video and other data ...

SearchSolidStateStorage

  • NVMe (non-volatile memory express)

    NVMe (non-volatile memory express) is a host controller interface and storage protocol to enable a solid-state drive to use the ...

  • SSD RAID (solid-state drive RAID)

    SSD RAID (solid-state drive RAID) is a methodology commonly used to protect data by distributing redundant data blocks across ...

  • Tier 0

    Tier 0 (tier zero) is a level of data storage that is faster, and perhaps more expensive, than any other level in the storage ...

SearchCloudStorage

  • RESTful API

    A RESTful application program interface breaks down a transaction to create a series of small modules, each of which addresses an...

  • cloud storage infrastructure

    Cloud storage infrastructure is the hardware and software framework that supports the computing requirements of a private or ...

  • Zadara VPSA and ZIOS

    Zadara Storage provides block, file or object storage with varying levels of compute and capacity through its ZIOS and VPSA ...

Close