Sometimes you don’t know what exactly you are looking for. That’s when wildcard search may come in handy. Wildcard search can be used as placeholder for any sequence of characters or words. It is a seldom discussed search operator that can help a lot with SEO analysis and research.
Search engines treat wildcard search (an asterisk) the following way:
|Yahoo||[theolog] is identical to [theolog*]|
|MSN/ Live||Doesn’t seem to work at all||["online programs"] and ["online * programs"]|
Thus it makes sense to use wildcard search in Google for:
- Keyword research: find more long tail phrases based on your core terms. Be sure to play with numerous variations and try using exact match, e.g. [blue * widgets] vs ["blue * widgets"];
- Link building and link monitoring: try [submit * link] to get an idea of how much more results you can find.
- Brand evaluation: play with the brand name most powerful matches: [amazon.com *];
- Finding quick answers (in bold) – compare: ["google was launched in *"] and ["google was launched in"]