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How to use search operators within the search query of Content Explorer
How to use search operators within the search query of Content Explorer

Get precise search results in Content Explorer and Mentions Alerts.

May avatar
Written by May
Updated over a week ago

Content Explorer is a tool that allows you to discover the most popular content for any topic (by backlinks, organic traffic and social shares). Being creative about using the right search operators will get you precise search results to find the exact content you need. Here are some search operators you can use. 

Note: These operators are also applicable to Mentions Alerts, which serves you data from Content Explorer through email.

Quotation marks "  " 

Limits results to the exact word match. 

For example, the query "Ahrefs Rank Tracker" enables you to find content with the exact term match.


Limits results to a particular author of the article.

For example, the query author:"Tim Soulo" enables you to find content authored by "Tim Soulo".


Limits results to certain sites or domains. 

Enter the entire domain or just the TLD (.de, .com, .cz). For example, OR Then, pair 'site:' with a term you wish to search for within that site.

For example, the query "Digital Marketer" gives you results with the term "Digital Marketer" within the site

It is also possible to make your query omit mentions of certain website(s) by using in your query.

For example, if we want our query for "ahrefs" not to mention website:

It is also possible to exclude several sites from results using comma:,


Searches for a string within the URL like inurl:keyword-research. More details are covered in this article.

Boolean operators OR and AND

Using AND for Apple AND Orange returns results containing term "Apple" AND term "Orange" in no particular order. 

Using OR for Apple OR Orange returns results containing the term 'Apple' OR term 'Orange' which gives vastly different results shown here:


Searches across content titles. This advanced search operator is the alternative to “In title” mode that you can choose from a drop-down menu.

title:"keyword research" searches for keyword research in the titles of pages.

Boolean operators + and - 

The boolean operator + includes a term while the boolean operator - excludes a term in the search query. Do note that there shouldn't be a space in between the boolean operator and the word.

For example, this expression states that 'ahrefs' and 'rank' must be present, but 'tracker' must not be present: ahrefs +rank -tracker

Here's another example of an expression which excludes multiple terms of 'rank' and 'tracker': ahrefs -rank -tracker 

Grouping with parenthesis ( )

More than one term can be grouped using parenthesis:
(caffeinated OR decaffeinated) AND coffee

Note that combinations of the operators can also be used. 

For example, this expression will find pages with terms "caffeinated" or "decaffeinated" together with terms "coffee" or "tea", excluding the term "sugar", including the term "milk" and including having the exact match phrase "San Francisco" within the Title of the page:
(caffeinated OR decaffeinated) AND (coffee OR tea) -sugar +milk +title:"San Francisco"

You can also find a tutorial on supported advanced operators right in Content Explorer tool by clicking the question mark in the search bar:


  • Search operators are case sensitive. OR is a search operator, while or is not.

  • You can combine advanced search operators. Example:
    title:"keyword research" author:"Tim Soulo"
    will find pages with keyword research in title, authored by Tim Soulo, outside website.

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