Top Level Domain Searches Revisited

    June 6, 2005

I was reading the latest entry of the Google Blog (Google’s official blog) this morning, and they mention a search technique that, while already covered here, I thought it might be worthwhile going over again. It’s regarding the Site Search (site:) operator, and how it can be used to narrow your search to top level internet domains (.com, .net, .edu, .gov, etc.).

Top Level Domain Searches Revisited
Understanding Top Level Domain Searches

Google Tutor & Advisor covers this and more in the Adding Advanced Operators chapter of the Google Search Manual.

The site: operator is most often used to limit the search to a specific site, like this example which limits the search to


But you can also use it to search just with the top level domain by using the top level domain (without a period in front) as the operator value. For example, the following searches all educational site pages for the term “CDMA”:

[CDMA site:edu]

Here, the site excludes all .com top level domains from the search:

[CDMA -site:com]

Of course the Top Level Domains include all the country domains. For example, the following searches within Italy domains only:

[CDMA site:it]

Don’t forget that you can also use Google Advanced Search to specify the domain or top level domain, without having to remember how to use operator.

Using the site operator with a top level domain name is very useful for doing things like finding official information in government sites and finding research papers in educational sites. By the way, note that the site Search operator is the magic behind the Google University Search, nothing more.

So, why did the Google Blog bring this up today? It turns out that Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) has given preliminary approval to some new top level domains (.cat, .jobs, .mobi, .post, .travel, and .xxx). With so many domains in our future, it could come in handy to limit the search to specific top level domains.

By the way, I’ve always been a proponent of the .xxx domain. It could be such a simple solution to the porn accessibility problem. I’d propose that any porn site MUST have an .xxx domain. If porn is placed on any other domain, the domain name is taken away. Then, browsers could simply have an option to ignore or not ignore the .xxx sites.

Instant porn filter for the kids. In beginning this, I’d offer the .xxx domain to any .com domain holder of a domain name first, so that they don’t lose a valuable domain prefix. For example, if someone owned, give them first priority to purchase It seems all to logical to me. (My idea is certainly better than the stupid and failed idea of the “kids only” domain!)

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Mark Fleming is the founder of a new blog called Google Tutor & Advisor. Google Tutor & Advisor offers in-depth Tips, Techniques and Advice for Google Users.

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