Some crawler-based search engines make it easy to confirm that your web page is in their index. With others, it can be more difficult. Below are the best ways to find your web pages in the major crawler-based search engines.
Please note that these commands can also be useful for web searchers who wish to refine their queries, as explained more in the Site Search section of the Power Searching For Anyone page.
The Search Engine Alliances page explains where some search engines get or give their listings to others. Also, Search Engine Watch members have access pages that explain in depth the different data sources that each major search engine users and how they display information.
AltaVista has commands that can be used to easily narrow your search to a single URL or to pages within a particular web site. These commands can also be combined with query terms by those who wish to refine their search results.
To find a single page listed in AltaVista's crawler-based index, you can use the "url:" command. Simply preface the URL you wish to locate with this command, such as:
If the URL is in the index, it will be displayed. You can also use this command to find pages within a particular section of a web site. For example, this:
would list all the pages from within the /webmasters/ area of Search Engine Watch. This can be a useful way to find all the pages from your web site, if it resides within someone else's domain.
To locate all the URLs listed from a particular web site, use the "host:" command, such as:
Use only the actual domain name. Omit the http:// prefix. Also, be aware that using the www prefix can make a difference. For instance, the query below:
would bring back only the pages AltaVista has found from Search Engine Watch with the www prefix. However, Search Engine Watch can also be reached without the www prefix. In fact, this is the more common way that people come to Search Engine Watch. Consequently, AltaVista has actually indexed many more pages from the site without the www prefix. To see these pages, the first example shown would have to be used.
At FAST Search, commands can be used to find a single URL or multiple web pages from a particular site, as explained below:
To find a single page listed in FAST's crawler-based index, you can use the "url.all:" command:
This command will also work to bring up a single URL that is listed in the FAST-powered results used by Lycos.
To locate all the URLs listed from a particular web site, use the "url.host:" command, such as
Use only the actual domain name. Omit the http:// prefix. Also, be aware that using the www prefix can make a difference, as described with AltaVista.
At Google, commands can be used to find a single URL or multiple web pages from a particular site, as explained below:
To find a single page listed in Google's crawler-based index, you can use the "allinurl:" command, such as:
The allinurl command works the same as with AltaVista, which means you can also use it to find pages within a particular section of a web site. Be sure to omit the http:// prefix.
Please note that if you are trying to find web pages with both words in the URL and in the document itself, you'll need to use the special "inurl" command. This is explained more in the URL Search section of the Power Searching For Anyone page.
To locate all the URLs listed from a particular web site, use the "site:" command in combination with a word or words that you know appear on all the pages. For example:
would bring up all (or nearly all) of the pages Google lists from Search Engine Watch, because all the pages should have the word "searchenginewatch" on them as part of the footer text.
You must use the site command in combination with a search term. It will not work, otherwise.
Inktomi powers some of the results used by a variety of different search engines. Below is how to locate a single or multiple URLs within Inktomi powered-listings.
To find a particular URL listed in Inktomi's crawler-based index, you can use the "originurl:" command. Simply preface the URL you wish to locate with this command, such as:
If the URL is in the index, it will be displayed. This command has been tested to work on the following Inktomi-powered services:
- AOL Search
The originurl command will bring up an individual URL listed in the Inktomi-powered results of these services. It does not work at iWon, LookSmart or MSN Search.
Keep in mind that not all Inktomi partners tap into the entire Inktomi database. That's one reason why you may find a URL at one service but not at another.
To locate all the URLs listed from a particular web site, use the "domain:" command, such as:
Use only the actual domain name. Omit the http:// prefix. As explained above for AltaVista, using the www prefix can also make a difference.
Unfortunately, the domain command works inconsistently at different Inktomi-powered services. Here's a rundown:
HotBot: Use the command. If your have any listings in the Open Directory, these will be shown first. You'll know these are Open Directory listings because they will have a "More like this" link underneath them. By pass these and find a listing for your site that instead has a "See results from this site only" link. Select that link, and you'll see all the pages listed in Inktomi from your web site.
iWon & LookSmart: Using the command will list all pages from a web site.
At the following services, the command fails to operate because "clustering" (as explained on the Search Assistance Features page) prevents you from seeing more than a few pages from your site.
- AOL Search
- MSN Search
Inktomi has a special command that lets you find pages within a specific areaof a web site. This is the "originurlpath:" command, and you use it in combination with the domain command, such as:
This would find pages from within the /webmasters/ area of Search Engine Watch. In other words, everything within this area would be listed:
Directories: Yahoo, LookSmart & The Open Directory
Directories are search engines that are powered by human beings, rather than by crawling the web. Because humans are involved, directories tend to list only a few pages per web site. This means that you probably won't be needing to make use of special site or URL commands to locate your listings. In fact, of the three major directories, only Yahoo has any specific command like this. At Yahoo, you can use the "u:" command to locate specific URLs, like this:
That would bring up any pages from Yahoo's human-compiled listings that contain "searchenginewatch.com" within the URL, if it is done from the Yahoo Directory page, as opposed to the regular Yahoo home page (which brings back Google results).
At the web's two other major directories, LookSmart and the Open Directory, you'll find that searching for your domain or a portion of your domain should bring up many or all of your listings.
For example, by entering "searchenginewatch.com" or "searchenginewatch," I would be able to find most of my human-compiled listings in both places.
LookSmart also provides a detailed guide to locating your URL within its service and the listings it provides to partners:
How to Find Your Listing in the LookSmart Network
All the search engines and directories mentioned above produce their own listings. However, there remain some major search engines that simply outsource to produce the results they provide. For example, MSN Search uses information from both LookSmart and Inktomi. Trying to check your listings at such a place is difficult, because two or more data sets are involved. Below is a guide to what happens as such places
Use tips described above for the Open Directory to find your Open Directory listings and for Inktomi to find your Inktomi listings.
Using the Inktomi site search command described above will brings up both your Open Directory and Inktomi listings. There is no command to bring up all your pages included in HotBot's Direct Hit powered "Top Ten" listings.
Use tips described above for FAST to find your FAST listings. There is no way to find all your listings from the Open Directory or Direct Hit information the service uses.
Use tips described above for Inktomi to find your Inktomi listings. There is no way to find all your listings from LookSmart.
Use tips described above for the Open Directory to find your Open Directory listings and for Google to find your Google listings.
There are services that can check search engines for your URL automatically, including checking on how they appear in relation to particular keyword phrases. A list of these is maintained for Search Engine Watch members in the Position Checking/Tracking section of the Search Engine Optimization Toolbox page.
Also, this page gives you just a taste of some of the powerful searches that can be done with search engines. See the Power Searching page for an at-a-glance guide to other types of searches.
Meet Your Favorite Search Engine Watch Contributors
Many of SEW's leading expert contributors will be at ClickZ Live, the new online and digital marketing event kicking off in New York (March 31-April 3). Hear from the likes of: Thom Craver, Josh Braaten, Lisa Barone, Simon Heseltine, Josh McCoy, Lisa Raehsler, Greg Jarboe, Dan Cristo, Joseph Kerschbaum, John Gagnon, Eric Enge and more!