Search Commands*

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Yahoo search commands

Yahoo's current database is built on the bones of the old Inktomi index which Yahoo bought in late 2004. This index is also used for All the Web and the original search engine Alta Vista (though the results edge in favour of either natural results or sponsored listings).

Yahoo has a wide range of additional search commands and even provide Site Explorer (and API) to encourage search engine optimisers to use official tools rather than scrape the content. You can view the Site Explorer page for Yahoo is one of the very few search engines which will return results for all the links a domain has (hostdomain:) and restrict results to pages with just meta tags (feature:).

Yahoo search commands summary

Restrict a search to a single site
Sample search: Site search for

The site: command can be used in two ways; to restrict a search to one site or to list all the pages Yahoo has indexed from one site. For example, yahoo searches Search Commands* for the word yahoo and searches the site for any page and therefore lists them all. The site: command can include or omit the 'www' from the search.
Restrict a search to a single host name
Sample search: Search

The hostname: command is similar to site: but it is used to restrict the search to one specific hostname/sub-domain. For example, The command is most useful to see how many pages Yahoo has indexed of a site without the 'www' prefix.
List pages which link to a page
Sample search: Backlinks for

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. Although Yahoo seems to place less importance on the quality/quantity of backlinks they are a non trivial factor in the algorithm. Unlike Google, Yahoo includes the http protocol in the link command, link:, and this allows users to count and contrast links to page via specific protocols. For example, the difference between links to and In addition and also unlike Google, Yahoo allows users to use the link: command with the site: command and count the number of purely external links. For example: link: -site:
Find one specific URL in the search database
Search search: Search for

Like Yahoo's link: command url: requires the protocol to be included in the URL, ie, http or https. The url: command returns a single URL if it is known to Yahoo along with a category link and cache if available.
Restrict a search so that some keywords must appear in the page address
Sample search: Search for pages with commands in their URL

Returns pages that have one or more of the keywords in their URL. The inurl: command can sometimes be used to restrict searches to specific sites and directories. For example: search will return pages with '' in their URL and search elsewhere on the page.
Restrict a search so that some of the keywords must appear in the title
Sample search: Search for pages which contain one or more of search in the title tag and commands in the title or body.

Returns pages which have the adjacent keyword in the title tag. This command does not restrict results so that pages must also include any subsequent keywords in the title tag.
Inclue a map of any US location
Sample search: Search for map of Boston

Yahoo's map command only works for US locations and only in the US version of the search engine, ie not at The maps are provided by Yahoo! Maps and appear below the sponsored results but approve the natural result. The search results which come with the map do include map as the keyword. The map search command does not use the colon.
Include current weatherinformation for any US location
Sample search: Search for weather report for Chicago

The weather search command does not use a colon (ie, the syntax weather: chicago would be incorrect according to Yahoo's suggested use, however, the presence of the colon does not actually stop the search command. The weather search command inserts a snippet of a weather forecast for an American location above the organic search results and below the sponsored links.
Include a defination for the keyword
Sample search: The definition for search and search results for search

The define search command does not use the colon, ie define search rather than define:search and this differs from the Google use of the command. The define search command adds a snippet definition of the search term to the search results, above the natural results and below the sponsored links. The definition links to a fuller dictionary entry at Yahoo! Education.
Link to weather, directions and maps for an American airport
Sample search: Search for information about LAX airport

The correct use of the airport search command is after the airport keyword, for example lax airport. This search command places a link above natural search results but below pay per click search results. The airport information link always points to the Yahoo! owned Farechase. For example, the lax airport keyword links to
area code
Include a list of cities which match the US area code
Sample search: Search for the area code for Boston and Boston search results

The area code command is used without the colon and uses area code plus a city keyword. The result pages inserts a Yahoo! Shortcut above search hits for the city keyword plus 'area code' as a keyword. This feature works for American areas only currently.
Include encyclopedia entry for keyword
Sample search: Search for money facts

The search command facts is placed after a single keyword. The results pages insert a pargraph summary of an encyclopedia entry for the associated keyword. The encyclopedia shortcut links to a larger entry for the keyword. The shortcut also links through to Yahoo's copy of the Columbia Encyclopedia with a keyword search for related topics.
Show a variety of unit conversion rates, for example currency or distance
Sample search: Convert Dollars to Pounds

This search command allows users to convert one unit to another, fahrenheit to celsius for example, or to reveal the conversion factor between the two. Yahoo lists a page of convertion units which the command supports but testing reveals only partial support.
Include link to gas prices for an American area
Sample search: Search for gas prices in Orlando

Gas is the Americanism for gasoline/petrol and as such is a command which works with American cities. This search command does not display any gas prices on the search results but provides a link to a gas information provider.
Include links to hotels in the area
Sample search: Search for new york hotels

The hotels search command follows the location keyword rather than introducing them. The hotels search command works with a global range of cities, for example; Edinburgh hotels. This search command adds short cuts to Yahoo Travel and the city specific hotel pages there.
Include and link to movie showtimes in the area
Sample search: Search for showtimes in Dallas
This search command adds Yahoo! Shortcut links to Yahoo! Movies cinema/theatre pages. The showtimes search command typically comes after the city keyword, eg, Dallas showtimes. This command works for American locations only.
Include and link to news headlines which match the keyword
Sample search: Search for London news

The news search command can be placed before or after the topic keyword. This search command adds Yahoo! Shortcut links above the organic Yahoo search results to Yahoo! News search results and links directly to recent news stories at various news providers.
Link to detailed information for the matching patent number keyword
Sample search: Search for patent 6269361

This search command works only with US patent numbers. With this search command the Yahoo! user must already know the patent number for their search and with it Yahoo will include a Yahoo! Shortcut to the US Patent Office's record of the patent. This search command works only with American patents and not with keywords.
Show American stockmarket information for a given ticker symbol
Sample search: Search for Yahoo financial information

A ticker symbol represents a floated company in a stock exchange, rather than listing a company's full and possibly lengthy name, the ticker symbol is a concise summary. In response search command quote and a ticker symbol together as a search option Yahoo will include a graph of recent share price values, a Yahoo! Shortcut to financial information for the company, links to quotes, charts, profiles, recent news and a message board. The use of the search command quote is optional at times as simply by entering a ticker symbol (for example, Yhoo) Yahoo! will return the same information. Omitting the search command quote will also ensure that sponsored results triggered by the keyword quote do not appear. Ticker symbols can also be looked up at Yahoo.
Include synonyms for keyword and link to definitions of each
Sample search: Include synonyms for command

Yahoo responds to the search command synonym by adding a Yahoo! Shortcut to Yahoo! Education's copy of Roget's Thesaurus for the keyword. In addition, in the Yahoo! Shortcut also lists a brief dictionary definition of the keyword and some synonyms. The listed synonyms are linked through to their own Yahoo! Education Roget Thesaurus entries.
Include and link to score results for team name keyword
Sample search: Search for recent golf scores

The search command scores follows a sport keyword and produces a Yahoo! Short cut to Yahoo! Sports page. This command works mainly for American searches (so Football scores links to American Football results rather than football/soccer results) but also for international events covered by Yahoo! Sports.
Include local time and timezone information for location keyword
Sample search: Include information on the local time in Edinburgh (United Kingdom)

The search command includes information on a location keyword's local time. A twelve hour clock with calendar is returned along with a Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) adjustment.
Link to traffic reports for location keyword
Sample search: Include information for traffic in Boston

This search command works only with American locations and results in a Yahoo! Shortcut to Yahoo! Local. Traffic information is shown on the Yahoo! map where icons are used to indicate minor, moderate or severe incidents and colours used to suggest traffic speeds.
zip code
Include a list of zip codes which match the location keyword
Sample search: Include zip codes for Orlando

This search command includes all known zip codes (American) for a destination keyword a Yahoo! Shortcut to Yahoo! Local. Where the city keyword exists in the more than one state, Yahoo! assumes the search is for the dominant location and provides links to the others.
Insist that the search engine includes a given keyword in the search results
Sample search: Search for search, the and commands

Yahoo automatically filters some words from normal searches but the use of the + command instructs the search engine to include them. For example, Yahoo 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 Yahoo search results. For example, -search engine is likely to return pages about trains and cars.
Restrict a search to pages which include a given feature
Sample search: Search for pages with meta tags and the keywords search commands

The feature search command limits Yahoo! search results to those which contain certain features like meta tags, JavaScript or PDF files. The full list of feature elements is here. The feature search command applies to pages which contain the feature or which links to the appropriate media (for vrml, shockwave, etc).
Restrict a search to pages from a given region
Sample search: Restrict search results to pages from Europe and which mention the keywords search and commands

Yahoo allows users to restrict their search results to certain regions and this in addition to providing country searches like Yahoo! Search UK & Ireland and Yahoo! Suche Deutschland. The region list is a little quirky and includes a sea as well as continental land masses.