Google Search Commands: How to Best Use The “before:” & “after:” Command

Posted By on January 26th, 2020 in Search Engine Optimisation

Google’s Danny Sullivan announced new search commands which allow users to restrict their search queries to specific dates. Current search features allow users to filter out searches based on different date ranges. However, Google is now planning to roll-out a new command on-board to make it easier to see the result. The new search command is still being tested by Google.

The “before:” and “after:” search command now lets users search for content that is published after or before a certain date. This comes in addition to five filters – 24 hours, week, month, year and the “custom date range” filter, which is only available on the desktop version.

How do the Before/After Search Commands Work?

The new commands can be typed inside the search box and won’t be visible as a filter. It accomplishes the same functionality as the date range tools for restricting searches to specific date ranges.

To get search results before a given date, add the before search command in the format “before:YYYY-MM-DD” to your search query. For example, searching “the best pizza in Dubai before:2016-01-01” will yield content from 2015 and earlier.

To get results after a given date, add the after search command in the format “after:YYYY-MM-DD” at the end of your search query. For example, searching “top 10 horror movies after:2018-12-31” will provide you with results that were published in 2019 and onward.

Both the commands can be combined to search within a date range. For example, searching “one-hit wonders after:1999-12-31 before:2001-01-01” will yield results from the year 2000. Users can also use dashes instead of slashes as well as single digits for months and days, or filter by just the year, making the command “Olympics before:1996” equivalent to “before:1996-01-01.”

Search by date has been around for a decade, it was introduced in 2009. From its debut in 2009 until just recently, the feature was only accessible from the search interface under “Tools” tab.

These new search commands are now in public beta testing. Google has shared that it has been developing them over the past year but is still pursuing ways to improve them, particularly in regards to date display.

Salma Eraki Administrator
Copywriter , Bruce Clay MENA

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