Distance Search: The AROUND(#) Search Operator – The Most Underrated Google Search Function

The AROUND(#) search operator is one of my favorite, and frankly underrated, search functions. It is a distance operator between two words; in other words, it searches for web pages that have two words together, with no more than # of words separating them.

Here’s a simple example. Suppose I tried searching for bacon AROUND(3) cheeseburger.

bacon AROUND(3) cheeseburger

Google returns the expected bacon cheeseburger results, but there are also some interesting, unexpected results. The second result is for a bacon avocado cheeseburger (1 word – avocado – separating our search terms of bacon and cheeseburger). The third result is for a bacon ultimate cheeseburger (again, 1 word separating bacon and cheeseburger). The fourth result is for cheeseburgers with bourbon bacon (2 words – with bourbon – separating our search terms).

Use the operator whenever you need to find two words closely associated with each other, but possibly modified by other words. Try not to use a high # with AROUND(#) – I would suggest no more than 5 unless there’s a really good reason for a greater distance.