Arguably, the least understood Google operator is inanchor:
Google’s advanced search documentation has lost the level of detail it used to have just a few years ago. It no longer describes inanchor: and quite a few other operators.
What [ inanchor:keyword ] means, is – search for pages, links (anchors) to which from other pages have the keyword (or key phrase, as in [ inanchor:”key phrase” ]).
It’s a tricky operator! Note that while Google responds to the query, it does not tell us which pages have links responsible for the search results. For example, if somewhere is a page, pointing to your LinkedIn profile, and the link says “Top Professional of the Year”, Google will find the profile by searching for [ inanchor:”Top Professional of the Year” site:linkedin.com/in ] but which page said that great thing about you, we won’t know just by looking at the results. Google used to have the operator link: to look for sites linking to the given one, but it never worked well and is now gone.
Sometimes Google finds pages by keywords in “anchors.” If you don’t see your keyword on a results page, that could be the reason behind it: the word was in an anchor on a different page pointing to this results page. (Of course, there may be other reasons).
If we imagine what links to useful pages and sites can say, we can come up with some interesting use cases:
- –intitle:ibm –inurl:ibm inanchor:ibm inanchor:layoffs 2018
- inanchor:”my resume” –intitle:resume –inurl:resume filetype:pdf -your
- allinanchor: free trial ATS
In the middle example, inanchor: finds unique pages with resumes – these pages have no word “resume” in the page title or URL:
You can find additional interesting inanchor: examples in this post.
As with the minus and all other operators (like intitle:, inurl:. etc.) Google searches for the exact word, so we’ll need to run the guesses for synonyms and variations separately.