We all know and use Google, but behind the simplistic and ordinary search, there is a whole world of operators and complex queries that allow us to reach valuable, and unique information, on the first results page.
To refine our search, we will use Google’s list of commands (operators), through which we can insert exactly what to search. A complete list of commands, with examples, can be found here. In the post below we will review the most relevant operators for researching companies, and explain how to use them.
Searching on websites
If, for example, we want to search for a particular company’s reference to a certain sector, product, or another company, and the company’s website does not have a quality search interface, we can use the ‘site’ operator, after which we enter the URL, and command Google to return results from only this website. Google will automatically try to expand the search, and return results that are similar to the search terms we entered. To negate that and command the search engine to display only results that contain the words we entered, we will use quotes (“ “).
For example, if we want to find all the places on the Tesla’s website where the word “energy” is mentioned, we will perform the following search –
Google’s search engine is the most powerful in the world and knows how to display results by context, from the text that appears in images or from document analysis, therefore we will usually prefer it over any internal search engine of other sites. Similarly, we can use the ‘site’ operator to search for Tesla mentions on Reddit:
Retrieve documents and files by format
Very often, sensitive information about companies or markets will appear in PDF files, Word documents, presentations, or data tables. To focus our search on the file format that interests us, we will use a very powerful ‘operator’ called ‘filetype’ (it is also possible to use ‘ext’ instead, short for “extension”, i.e. the file extension). If we want to find all the PDF files containing the words Tesla and Energy, for locating official documents, agreements, or reviews of the subject ‘energy in Tesla’, we can use the following query:
"Tesla" "energy" ext:pdf
In the same way, we could find PowerPoint presentations using — ext: ppt or Excel tables using filetype:xlsx and so on.
Where to search?
One of the more valuable options that Google offers is defining which part of the site/document to search for our keywords. For this purpose there are three operators:
- Searching the title — Using the intitle operator, we will command Google to only search for documents or sites containing our keywords in their title.
- URL search — You can search for words that appear specifically in the URL, using the inurl operator.
- Searching page content — using intext, we will set the search engine to search for words specifically on the sites or documents (content), and not search for results where the words only appear in the title.
So if we want to search for documents whose subject is Tesla batteries, we can assume that the relevant (key) words will appear in the title of the document. To find these exact results we will use the query:
intitle:tesla intitle:battery ext:pdf
Note that operators can be integrated to focus the search even more (as we will see in the next category).
Similarly, if we want to find reviews on Tesla batteries, and we prefer reviews from blogs, whose URLs usually contain the word ‘blog’, we can combine the intitle with inurl to locate the most accurate results:
inurl:blog intitle:tesla intitle:battery
Combining operators and logic
As we saw above, different operators and search terms can be combined to create complex queries. When we write multiple operators and search words, the default option is AND which means you will receive results that contain both the results of the first operator and the second (and third …).
If we want to receive PDF file results that contain the word Tesla or the word NIO in their title, but always together with the word Battery, we can use the logical operator OR ( remember — use capital letters), combined with parentheses that will indicate to Google which operations to perform first separated from the rest of the query.
(intitle:tesla OR intitle:nio) "battery" ext:pdf
Note that in the example above we use both ‘OR’ and ‘AND’ (‘AND’ is automatic unless stated otherwise) to receive results that contain either Tesla or NIO in the title, but that will always contain the word Battery and be a PDF file.
Complex queries and dorks
Finally, we can create our own complex queries, called google dorks, in which we combine several operators with keywords so that we reach the most significant information, which is sometimes accidentally indexed by Google, already on the first page of results.
For example, a query that locates PDF files, PowerPoint presentations, or Word documents, which contain the words ‘agreement’ or ‘deal’ in the title, mentions ‘Energy’ in the content and appears on the Tesla or Ford websites
(site:tesla.com OR site:ford.com) intext:energy (ext:pdf OR ext:doc OR ext:ppt) (intitle:agreement OR intitle:deal)
We can now filter our results by date and discover the most recent documents, or set up alerts to notify us when new results come out.
With advanced operators and dorks, we are able to turn Google into a fantastic search engine that allows us to discover unique results, identify deals and partners, new products or live events in a way that was not previously accessible to us.
Over time, we will be able to generate unique queries (dorks) based on our familiarity with the relevant content, the right keywords that appear in the titles or URLs of the sites relevant to our research, or the file types in which the most significant secrets will be hidden. Thus producing for ourselves a unique advantage over other traders.
Try using the Tradint Research Tool for some of our own powerful dorks for company research.