The search engine optimization (SEO) space is constantly changing, but there are some things that remain; Google search operators are one example.
Google search operators offer a whole extra layer of visibility into the Google database of indexed pages.
Google ALLINTITLE: Search Operator Problems and Solutions
In particular, the ALLINTITLE search operator makes it easy to measure the supply of web pages targeting specific keywords. But Google ALLINTITLE has serious problems.
The ALLINTITLE Search Operator
This search operator is meant to allow users to query Google for any pages with certain keywords (in any order) in the page title. It is used to return just those pages including a total number of such pages.
ALLINTITLE isn’t what it used to be. In many cases, this search operator seems to be broken.
One reason to search this way is that pages with the search term words in the title are deemed to be targeting that particular keyword. This makes the ALLINTITLE search operator a fan favorite among SEOs.
But Google has been known to let some search operators fall into disrepair, returning incomplete or unreliable data. And ALLINTITLE isn’t what it used to be. In many cases, this search operator seems to be broken.
ALLINTITLE: Discouraged or Doomed?
While the Google search operators are extremely useful to researchers and anyone looking to plumb the depths of the search engine index, it’s not clear that it helps Google as a company.
Providing these tools costs Google money in the form of processing resources and there is no direct revenue associated with them. And the frequent appearance of captchas as a speed bump is an obvious indicator that Google wants to discourage repeated use of ALLINTITLE.
…issues can be observed with ALLINTITLE, suggesting that Google is uninterested or unwilling to maintain the feature…
I suspect that they are used internally, perhaps by their product teams or engineers. But if these Google insiders didn’t need them I think many search operators might be removed completely.
Other issues can be observed with ALLINTITLE, suggesting that Google is uninterested or unwilling to maintain the feature in good working order. The obvious one was, for a long time, something I call the “false count” problem.
Allintitle Mismatches and Miscounts
At first glance the false count issue appeared to be a bug with the operator. The issue usually showed itself as a large, inaccurate total count on allintitle search results pages, except the last page. Perhaps it was some sort of database issue or just a display problem. It would certainly cause confusion for anyone that didn’t know to look at the last page of results. I have observed this funky behavior for years, but only recently (in Q3 of 2022) does it appear that Google has fixed that issue.
A much more insidious problem relates to the quality of results being returned, as can be seen in the video above.
A large number of results being returned by the operator (sometimes half or more) are clearly not actual ALLINTITLE matches. Often they are not even topically relevant.
A large number of results being returned by the operator (sometimes half or more) are clearly not actual ALLINTITLE matches. Often they are not even topically relevant. And this leads to not just a display issue, but to a completely skewed allintitle results count. The search operator is delivering low quality data.
I have seen this issue in the wild for at least 2 years, so surely Google was aware. Perhaps, then, this was an issue that they intentionally left unresolved. Maybe they decided the bug was a feature, serving to discourage overuse of the search operator (a fate that befell the LINK: operator before it).
Importance of ALLINTITLE
Regardless of the root cause, this allintitle bug is clearly resulting in inaccurate data. In the last few years some tools have sprung up that attempt to gather ALLINTITLE data in bulk. Due to this issue it’s not clear to me whether these tools are capturing the correct data or not.
Regardless, despite all the changes to the Google algorithms and ebb and flow of organic ranking factors, the page title has remained a cornerstone of how Google and all search engines understand and index a piece of content. This is why the ALLINTITLE (and INTITLE) search operators are such powerful functions.
And if Google ever takes away ALLINTITLE it would be a huge loss for the entire SEO community.
Data In, Data Out
Many folks in the SEO community know about ALLINTITLE in relation to the KGR (keyword golden ratio).
At SERP Sonar we love data-driven solutions to digital marketing challenges, and the KGR is a great example of this.
This mathematical formula, popularized by Doug Cunnington, helps determine supply and demand for a given search term. At SERP Sonar we love data-driven solutions to digital marketing challenges, and the KGR is a great example of this.
And the KGR depends on an accurate ALLINTITLE count. If Google does not remove the search operator altogether but simply lets it die a slow death, it will have a similar, debilitating effect in the long run. And it will render tools like the KGR unusable.
A Better ALLINTITLE
So, because quantitative metrics are only as good as the data we plug into them, we sought to solve for the allintitle data integrity and false count problems. This was actually one of the original ‘scratch our own itch’ problems that SERP Sonar aimed to address at conception.
SERP Sonar delivers an ALLINTITLE analog (among many other stats) for the first 100 results Google returns for the search term. This includes both the SERP allintile (SAT) and page allintile (PAT).
It is not a precise one-for-one replacement of the standard ALLINTITLE search operator. But in our testing, across many keyword types and scenarios, it is more reliable and also more accurate.
Google ALLINTITLE versus SERP Sonar PAT
The standard Google ALLINTITLE delivers results for the keyword from Google’s primary index, which is typically 200-300 pages for the given term (but often less). SERP Sonar provides accurate allintitle results from the top 100 ranking pages. Based on our testing and analysis, this approach will usually provide better overall output.
The Google ALLINTITLE consistently returns ‘dirty data’ that routinely includes pages that don’t actually match the “all-in-title” criteria. This leads to completely skewed total count numbers, in some cases.
This leads to a derived metric that more effectively measures the supply of pages targeting a keyword…
In contrast, SERP Sonar identifies the allintitle results from the top 100 ranking pages. This leads to a derived metric that more effectively measures the true supply of pages targeting a keyword, by focusing on only the top ranked, competitive pages.
And SERP Sonar is free to use for everyone, now and always. Whatever Google decides to do with the ALLINTITLE search operator SERP Sonar has your back.