The Anatomy of Google Search by @AaronLintz

google-searchHave you ever wondered what all of that information in the URL of a Google search result means?

Google search engine results have always been minimalist compared to the competition. It looks different today, but white space is a big part of the picture.

The url data in the browser bar, however, is hot mess of information that contains all of your referral data, parameters, filters, and search settings. Anyone who has tried to share a link on social media manually has seen how long these strings can get. The good news is, if you understand what some of these parameters mean, you can control them. Here is simple search for Sourcecon with the referring junk removed:


I will skip parameters that you can easily control with Boolean. The goal here is to view unfiltered, consistent, and repeatable results. These are the custom options you can add to a query. Each parameter must be separated with “&” and no spaces. Using more than one may give you odd results. The best solution is to add the query at the end like this example:


Like all things internet, these parameters change often and without notice. Some of the information you will find online is dated so the sources listed below are directly from Google. Parameters are different on other Google properties including News, Patent, and Video search.

Google Country Codes 

Article Continues Below


Interface Languages 


Verbatim explained by Google 

Aaron Lintz has architected and implemented ATS systems, recruiting processes and reporting/analytics systems. Aaron is known for innovative sourcing methods, having presented at SourceCon many times, including a keynote session at the Spring 2018 conference. Aaron also serves as an advisor for SourceCon and volunteers his time speaking at many other significant events around the world. Understanding his approach and tactics will be beneficial to all recruiting practitioners and managers.


0 Comments on “The Anatomy of Google Search by @AaronLintz

  1. Fabulous post to introduce the topic, Aaron (and thanks for linking to the related value list documentation). Now we just need to go a bit deeper with examples so sourcers understand how to leverage these parameters to improve results and realize why this list of parameters is a must-know. Would love to see an article and/or SourceCon lab just on this topic – e.g., start with basics like filter=0 insuring you see all results and no auto-omission of valuable results that Google thinks are dupes but aren’t, num=100 to show more results per page (time-saver, especially if web-scraping), newwindow=1 for time-saver productivity, then take it up a notch and explain value of verbatim, sort by and the ones that relate to geographic and other related targeting (language, country, region, number range, etc.)

    1. I’m not giving away the farm @Glenn Gutmacher:disqus, but that would be a very good sourcecon lab. Need time to break down the examples like the ones you mentioned. There are a few other ones that I left out like being able to sort by date that @IrinaShamaeva:disqus uncovered.

  2. Great post Aaron. I’m working on a post about using the verbatim search option on site search. I’ll be sure to reference this post.

    1. My default search is verbatim + no filters. You can use the bookmarklet below to automate this a bit. It will make you search url ugly, but it gets results and stops Google from thinking for you.


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