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10 Secrets to Google Keyword Planning and Research

If you are ever having trouble generating content for your blog, these keyword hacks will help you create a veritable litany of posts for your followers:

Secret Code #1 – Quotes

Code: “”

Purpose: Using quotes around a keyword or key phrase will tell Google to search for an exact phrase. Typically, if you were to search for the key phrase such as “fast weight loss”, Google will return results showing multiple combinations of that phrase such as, “weight loss fast”, “loss fast weight”, “weight fast loss”, and so on. To be more precise and focused with your research and zero-in on your targeted keyword, search using quotes around the keyword. Example: “fast weight loss”

Tip: Experiment with using quotes around some words and not others. For instance, if you have chosen a list structure for your article and you're looking for tips, then you could use the following search terms: “fast weight loss” tips

If this query doesn't give you specific enough tips to help your write your article, then you could further refine your search by putting the whole phrase in quotes: “fast weight loss tips”

I use quotes almost exclusively now to search Google as the information returned is far more specific, focused and relevant. Quotes can also be used with all other advanced operator codes for enhanced results.

Secret Code #2 – All In Title

Code: allintitle:

Purpose: This code will tell Google to only show results of content that contains the keyword in the title. Why would you want to do this? The reason is that content containing the keyword or phrase in the title is usually a fairly good indicator that it will be directly related to the topic you're researching. This search code will filter the results so that only content containing the keyword in the title will be displayed in the results.

Example: allintitle: best travel insurance

Tip: For even more specific results, you could also add quotes around the keyword or phrase. For example:

allintitle: “best travel insurance”

Secret Code #3 – Exclude

Code: -

Purpose: Including a hyphen before a word will tell Google to exclude that word from the results. This can be helpful when you're researching topics where there could be multiple meanings for the same word, like if you were searching for the keyword “salsa.” Google would normally return results for anything with salsa in it, so you would get results for “salsa dips” and “salsa dance.” Using the hyphen will narrow down the results more precisely.

Example: salsa dip -dance

Tip: You can also use a hyphen before multiple words to further narrow down your search. For example:

salsa dip -dance -club -event -show

Secret Code #4 – Include Synonyms

Code: ~

Purpose: The tilde code (located at the top left of the QWERTY keyboard, below the escape button) can be used to display the synonyms of a keyword. This can help you expand your searches to include keywords you may not have though but which are also highly relevant.

Example: search engine optimization ~tips

Using the above search will show results for “search engine optimization” as well as synonyms for “tips” such as “tutorial”, “guide”, “help”, “secrets”, “ideas” and “techniques”. As you can see, this code is a powerful way to expand Google's results, while displaying highly relevant information to assist your research.

Secret Code #5 – The Wildcard

Code: *

Purpose: The wildcard (asterix) code will be viewed by Google as a placeholder and fill in the gap with relevant words and phrases. This method can be used in many different ways and can help find great information related to your topic that you didn't know existed.

Example: how to * fitness

This above search query returned results such as: “How To Become A Fitness Manager”, “How To Become A Fitness Model”, “How To Improve Fitness”, “How To Assess Physical Fitness”, “How To Maintain Fitness During A Break”, and “How To Encourage Fitness”.

Tip: Great results can be found using the phrase “how to” and then adding the keyword and the wildcard code.

Here are a few phrases to get you started:

how to get* how to* how to lose* how to become* how to overcome* how to master* how to increase* how to not* how to make* how to quit* how to start* how to learn*

Secret Code #6 – Site

Code: site:

Purpose: This secret code can help you search all the information (that Google has indexed) within one particular Website. You can also combine multiple search operator codes to help you find even more powerful information that a Website contains. This is something that cannot be done with internal Website search boxes.


Tip: In the above example, the site code will bring up all the pages from But this search resulted in over 3 million page results so it's definitely not specific enough. This is where using additional Google codes can be used to get laser targeted results. For instance, if I wanted to search Mashable for information about Pinterest, I could use the site code combined with the quotes code (“Pinterest”). But even using these two search codes still the results are showing over 30,000 results so I could then add additional codes to further narrow the results.

Secret Code #7 - Related

Code: related: Purpose: If you find a fantastic Website that contains a wealth of information and you would also like to find additional Websites that are relevant, then using this secret code will help you do this.


Tip: This code can either work fantastically or terribly. Typically, the more well known and popular the Website that you attach this code to, the more relevant and targeted the results will be. But most of the time it works a treat!

Secret Code #8 – Define

Code: define:

Purpose: This code will turn Google into a dictionary

Example: define:remarkable

Tip: Click the “More info” link to display definitions from multiple dictionaries.

Secret Code #9 – Number Range

Code: ..

Purpose: This code will allow you to search within a range of numbers to find helpful information. It's great to use for numbered list type articles and this crafty code can also be used to find the prices of products.

Example: sleep tips 1..100
Macbook pro $1000..$2000
Calories burnt walking 1..1000

Tip: If you are unsure what number range to enter into the search box, then to be safe use a very small number and a very large number, then take a look at the results and adjust the search range from there.

Secret Code #10 - File Type

Code: filetype:

Purpose: Multiple file types (outside of html) exist within Google's index and this code will help you find them.

Example: exercise filetype:pdf (This search will show results for PDF documents that are to do with the keyword “exercise”)

Tip: If you're in a rush click the “Quick View” link on the results page to open the file in Google Docs. For content creators, the best file codes to use for research purposes are: pdf, txt, doc, and ppt.

Additional File Type Codes

Adobe Flash (swf)
Adobe Portable Document Format (pdf)
Adobe PostScript (ps) HTML (htm and html)
Microsoft Excel (xls and xlsx)
Microsoft PowerPoint (ppt and pptx)
Microsoft Word (doc and docx)
OpenOffice presentation (odp)
OpenOffice spreadsheet (ods)
OpenOffice text (odt)
Rich Text Format (rtf)
Text (.txt and text)