Google’s Tilde (~) Operator – Gone?
Working in SEO, it is necessary to understand and utilize advanced queries in Google on a daily basis. They make our jobs easier and faster, and they make prospecting (nearly) painless.
Thought it’s not in the daily rotation, the Tilde (~) operator is a veteran in my SEO toolbox. Combine it with the Minus Sign (-), and the Tilde operator comes in especially handy for synonym searches in the early stages of keyword research.
For example, [~dog -dog] gets you results with “puppy”, “canine”, etc. Great tool, especially when you need it.
Well, today it stopped working for me. It appears that Google no longer recognizes the Tilde as a search operator, much like it ignores apostrophes and commas in search.
Now when I search [~dog], Google serves the exact same results as [dog]:
And when I search [~dog -dog], I get zero results:
I can’t seem to find any documentation on this change, from Google or anybody else. Are you seeing similar results when using the Tilde? I’m still brainstorming alternatives to using the Tilde in keyword research, and would love to hear your ideas or methods.
Update: Justin Briggs showed me that Google Sets functionality is still available as a Google Drive feature. Though this doesn’t completely replace use of the Tilde, it provides a viable alternative. This blog post shows you how to get Google Sets results in Google Spreadsheets.