Search Commands*

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Live search commands

Microsoft opened the doors to a beta version of its very first search engine late in 2004 and began returning its own full set of results in 2005.


Live search commands

filetype:
Restrict a search to a given type of file
Sample search: Search for PDFs contain the word commands

Live Search crawls more than basic web pages. A wide range of different file types, including PDF and .doc files, are found in the search engine. The filetype command restricts searches to documents which match the filetype extension.
link:
List pages which link to a page
Sample search: Backlinks for www.searchcommands.com

The term "backlinks" is used to describe those links from external sites which point to the page in question. Google is largely responsible for bringing backlinks into the limelight. Live Search places less importance on the quality/quantity of backlinks than Google, backlinks continue to be an important factor in the algorithm. Live Search does not require the 'http' protocol in the link command (unlike Yahoo), but it can be used if desired. For example, the difference between links to http://www.searchcommands.com and https://www.searchcommands.com. Live Search allows users to use the link: command with the site: command and count the number of purely external links. For example: link:www.searchcommands.com -site:http://www.searchcommands.com.
LinkFromDomain:
List pages which a domain links to
Sample search: Pages which www.microsoft.com links to

The LinkFromDomain was added by Live Search in October 2006 and announced on the MSDN Live Search blog. The search command was added in response to requests from the search community.
linkdomain:
List pages which link to a domain
Sample search: List all the backlinks to any page on Amazon.com

The linkdomain: command lists all the backlinks to the domain rather than just the links to a given page. This command is an effective way to compare the relative strengths of entire domains, for example, Amazon.co.uk has 4,053,567 inbound links for the entire domain at the time of writing and Tesco.com has 51,356.
contains:
List pages which link to a given filetype
Sample search: Search for .bml (Better Markup Language) pages which contain the keyword search

The search command contains allows users to search for pages which link to files matching the filetype keyword. For example, contains:rss limits the search for pages which link to RSS and contains:bml search limits the search to pages linking to .bml pages and which have the keyword search.
inurl
Restrict a search so that some keywords must appear in the page address
Sample search: Search for pages with searchcommands in the URL

This search command limits the search results to pages which have the given keyword in their URL. Only one keyword can be used with inurl but inurl can be used more than once in a query.
inanchor:
Restrict a search so that the keyword must appear in anchors tags on the page
Sample search: Search for pages which use the word commands in anchor text

This search command restricts results to pages which use one given keyword in anchor text. This command does not return pages which are linked to by pages using specific anchor text and in fact the combination of inanchor and link cannot be used to achieve that query either. The Live Search WebLog recommends using link and inbody as the basis for that search. The inanchor search command only also works with one keyword but can be used more than once in a search query.
intitle:
Restrict a search so that some of the keywords must appear in the title
Sample search: Search for pages which have Live and commands in their title tag.

Returns pages which have the adjacent individual keyword in the title tag. This command does not restrict results so that pages must also include any subsequent keywords in the title tag but can be used more than once in the search query.
inbody:
Restrict a search so that all of the keywords must appear in the body text
Sample search: Return pages with the keyword search in their body

This search command limits results to pages which have the keyword in their body text (rather than meta, title or inbound pages). Only one keyword can be used with inbody at a time but inbody can be used numerous times within one query.
ip:
List sites hosted by keyword IP address
Sample search: List all the sites hosted at 213.171.219.245

The IP search command is unique to Live and returns all the domains hosted at one specific IP address. Virtual hosting allows one server to be associated with numerous domain names. Load balancers can also associate many servers and sites with just one IP address. This command does not list all possible domains on the IP address, just those domains LiveBot has found.
language
Restrict a search to a specific language
Sample search: Search for pages in Norwegian which also mention search

This search command restricts returned results to pages written in a specific language. Language searching is independant of country and location. A server hosted in the UK could have Irish language content, for example. A full list of Yahoo language codes is available at Search Commands*.
location:
Restrict a search to pages from a given region
Sample search: Search for pages in the UK which mention search

The location search command is used with a location code to limit returned pages to a specific country or region. The Live location search command is more precise than Yahoo's region command which does not narrow the search to countries and settles for wider, larger, land massses as regions.
prefer:
Enhance a search by giving emphasis to the given keyword
Sample search: Search for commands and search with a bias on commands

The prefer search command places an emphasis on one of the keywords in the query. Typically, the order of keywords in the query implies an order of importance but this command allows the last keyword to supersede the first.
site:
Restrict a search to a single site
Sample search: Return all the pages from www.searchcommands.com

This search command restricts the search to a specific site. The site command can be used to find an instance of a keyword or keyphrase within a site or used without a keyword in order to return all the pages that Live lists from a given site.
url:
Find one specific URL in the search database
Sample search: Search for the URL www.searchcommands.com

The search command url returns a single page from the Live index if it is known to the search engine. Unlike Yahoo this search command returns no other information.
+
Insist that the search engine includes a given keyword in the search results
Sample search: Search for search, the and commands

Live search filters some words from searches but the use of the + command instructs the search engine to include them. For example, Live would treat a search for search the commands as a search for search commands as the is ignored but the phrase search +the commands would ensure the word the was included.
-
Insist that the search engine omits pages which match a given keyword in the search results
Sample search: Search for pages which match commands but which do not mention search

The - command creates is used in front of a keyword which must not be present in the Live search results. For example, -search engine is likely to return pages about trains and cars.
NOT
Insist that the search engine omits pages which match a given keyword in the search results
Sample search: Search for pages which contain the word search but not commands

The NOT search command is a synonym for the - search command. Using the NOT search command allows the user to insist that search results only include pages which do not mention a given keyword.
OR
List pages which have at least some of the keywords
Sample search: Search for search OR commands

Live searches for almost all the keywords entered (some words like a, the, of, etc are omitted). The OR command is placed between two or more keywords and instructs Live to return pages which contain one or another of the keywords, though the phrase itself remains a prominent term.
|
List pages which have at least some of the keywords
Sample search:

The | (pipebar) search command is a synoym for the OR search command. The pipebar command instructs Live search to look for pages which match all or some of the adjacent keywords.
""
Restrict a search so that the keywords must appear consecutively in a phrase
Sample search: Search for "search commands"

The order of keywords in a Live query is important but not the be all and end all. Searching for search commands returns pages which simply mention search and commands. The search for "search commands" returns different results as only pages which mention search commands as a complete phrase are listed.
()
Group keywords together
Sample search: Search for pages which exclude the group of keywords (search commands)

The brackets search command groups keywords together but produces a different effect from the quotes. For example, -(search command) produces different SERPs than -"search commands". The brackets are used to search for or exclude groups of keywords.
More information about Live's search commands is available on the dedicated Live search commands page. In Live's page we look at how to use each commands, which search commands can be used together and which cannot.