Search Engine Features For Searchers

By Danny Sullivan, Editor
SearchEngineWatch.com
Page updated: Oct. 26, 2001

The search engine features chart below is designed primarily for users of search engines. It summarizes key search commands and search assistance features. These are described more fully on the Search Engine Math, Power Searching For Anyone and Search Assistance Features pages. You may also find information on the Search Engine Features For Webmasters page to be of interest. See the Major Search Engines page for links to the services listed below.

Note: This chart is being updated for Netscape, The Open Directory and Yahoo -- though information about these services, where listed, may still be correct. It should be fully updated for these services by mid-Jan. 2002. The chart also  notes Overture (GoTo) and iWon, where appropriate, and information for this services is also being updated.  

Search Engine Math Commands
(See Search Engine Math and Power Searching For Anyone for more details)

Command How Supported By
Include
Term
+ All but LookSmart
(Does work for LookSmart's Inktomi results)
Exclude
Term
- All but LookSmart
(Does work for LookSmart's Inktomi results.
Also, will not work for preprogrammed results
to popular queries at MSN Search)
Phrase " " All but
Direct Hit, LookSmart, MSN Search
(Does work for LookSmart's Inktomi results. At
MSN Search, unpredictable about when it works)
Match
Any
Term
Auto AltaVista, Direct Hit, Excite, LookSmart
Not yet updated, but may be still correct:
 Netscape, Yahoo, GoTo
adv. search
page

AllTheWeb, AOL Search, Google
HotBot, Lycos, MSN Search

Other

Northern Light (use OR)

Match
All
Terms
Auto AllTheWeb, AOL Search, Google, HotBot, Lycos,
MSN, Northern Light
Other Can usually be done with + symbol or adv. search page

NOTE: Math commands at Lycos tend to bring back results from FAST's crawler-based results, rather than the human-powered results Lycos uses from the Open Directory. If you want to search just Open Directory results, then use the Lycos advanced search page.

Power Searching Commands
(See Power Searching For Anyone for more details)

Command How Supported By
Title Search title: AltaVista, Inktomi (HotBot, iWon, MSN),
Northern Light
normal.title: AllTheWeb,
Lycos (for AllTheWeb results only)
allintitle:
intitle:
 Google
adv. search
page
Direct Hit
none AOL, Excite, HotBot, MSN, LookSmart, Lycos
Not yet updated, but may be still correct:
Netscape
other

Not yet updated, but may be still correct:
Yahoo (t:)

Site
Search
host: AltaVista
site: Excite, Google (Netscape, Yahoo)
url.host: AllTheWeb,
Lycos (for AllTheWeb results only)
domain: Inktomi (HotBot, iWon, LookSmart)
none AOL, Direct Hit, HotBot, LookSmart, Lycos, MSN, Netscape, Northern Light, Open Directory, Yahoo
URL Search url: AltaVista, Excite, Northern Light
url.all: AllTheWeb,
Lycos (for AllTheWeb results only)
allinurl:
inurl:
Google
originurl: Inktomi
(AOL, GoTo, HotBot)
u: Yahoo
none  AOL, Direct Hit, HotBot, LookSmart, MSN
Not yet updated, but may be still correct:
Open Directory
Link Search link: AltaVista, Google, Northern Light
linkdomain: Inktomi (AOL, HotBot, iWon, MSN)
(NOTE: measures links to entire domains)
link.all: AllTheWeb,
Lycos (for AllTheWeb results only)
none AOL, Direct Hit, Excite, HotBot, LookSmart,
Northern Light
Not yet updated, but may be still correct:
Netscape, Yahoo (n/a)
Wildcard * AltaVista, Inktomi (iWon), Northern Light
Not yet updated, but may be still correct:
Yahoo
? AOL Search, Inktomi (iWon)
% Northern Light
none AllTheWeb, Direct Hit, Excite, Google, HotBot, LookSmart, Lycos, MSN
(MSN's help says it offers wildcard,
but it failed to during testing)
Anchor Search anchor: AltaVista
None AllTheWeb, AOL Search, Direct Hit, Excite, Google, Inktomi, HotBot, Lycos

NOTE: The commands above are primarily useful when dealing with crawler-based search engines. "None" indicates any crawler-based or human-powered search engine that creates its own listings but which does not provide a particular command for searching within those listings. It may also indicate a portal that that outsources for its listings and which lacks a single command to work across the multiple datasets it uses.

Search Assistance Features
(See the Search Assistance Features page for more details)

Feature Offered By
Related Searches  AltaVista, AllTheWeb, Excite, HotBot, Lycos, MSN, Yahoo
Not yet updated, but may be still correct:
iWon
Clustering AltaVista, AllTheWeb, Excite, Google,
HotBot, MSN, Northern Light
Find Similar AltaVista, AOL Search, Google
Stemming AOL Search, Direct Hit, HotBot, Inktomi (HotBot, MSN)
Search Within AltaVista, Google, HotBot, Lycos
Spidered Version Google
Search By Language AltaVista, AllTheWeb, Excite, Google,
HotBot, Lycos, MSN, Northern Light
Page Translation AltaVista, Google, Lycos
Porn Filter AltaVista, AllTheWeb, Google
Porn Warning HotBot, MSN, Northern Light

Customization & Display Features
(See Search Assistance Features page for more details)

Feature Supported By
Number Of
Listings Shown
(10 unless noted)
AltaVista, AllTheWeb, AOL Search (5), Direct Hit,
Excite, Google, HotBot, LookSmart (15),
Lycos, MSN (15), Northern Light
Not yet updated, but may be still correct:
iWon, Netscape, Yahoo (20)
Ability To Increase Number Of Listings? AltaVista, AllTheWeb, Excite, Google, HotBot, MSN
Not yet updated, but may be still correct:
Yahoo
See 20 Results AltaVista, AllTheWeb, Excite, Google, HotBot, MSN
Not yet updated, but may be still correct:
Yahoo
See 50 Results AltaVista, AllTheWeb, Excite, Google, HotBot, MSN
Not yet updated, but may be still correct:
Yahoo
See 100 Results AllTheWeb, Google, HotBot, 
Not yet updated, but may be still correct:
Yahoo
Sort By Date MSN Search, Northern Light
Date Range AltaVista, Google, HotBot, MSN, Northern Light
Not yet updated, but may be still correct:
iWon, Yahoo
Date Displayed? AltaVista, HotBot (for Inktomi results),
Northern Light
Display Titles Only? AltaVista, Excite, HotBot (URLs only option), MSN
Other Major Customize Options AltaVista, AllTheWeb, Google

Boolean Commands
(See Boolean Searching page for more details)

Command How Supported By
Or OR AltaVista, AOL Search, Excite, Google,
Inktomi (HotBot, MSN), Lycos, Northern Light
None AllTheWeb, Direct Hit, LookSmart, 
Not yet updated, but may be still correct:
Yahoo
And AND AltaVista, AOL Search, Excite,
Inktomi (HotBot, MSN) Lycos, Northern Light
None AllTheWeb, Direct Hit, Google, LookSmart
Not yet updated, but may be still correct:
 Yahoo
Not NOT AOL Search, Excite, Inktomi (HotBot),
Lycos, Northern Light
AND NOT AltaVista, Inktomi (MSN)
Not yet updated, but may be still correct:
Netscape
None AllTheWeb, Direct Hit, Google, LookSmart,
Not yet updated, but may be still correct:
 Yahoo
Nesting ( ) AltaVista, AOL Search, Excite,
Inktomi (MSN), Northern Light
None AllTheWeb, Direct Hit, Google, Inktomi (HotBot), LookSmart, Lycos
Not yet updated, but may be still correct:
 Yahoo
Near NEAR AltaVista (10 words), AOL Search (specify number), Lycos (25 words)
None AllTheWeb, Direct Hit, Google,
Inktomi (HotBot, MSN), LookSmart
Notes
At AltaVista, Boolean only works on advanced search page.
At Excite, Google & MSN, Boolean commands must be in UPPERCASE
At Inktomi-powered services, set menu to "Boolean"