As explained in this article, Boolean operators are simple words that, when combined with your keywords, extend or narrow your search and thus refine the results of a query.
They can help you focus a search and connect various pieces of information to find exactly what you’re looking for. They might seem intimidating at first, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll be advancing your searches in no time!
You might want to learn more about basic Boolean operators before reading this article. However, in some cases and searches, basic operators are simply insufficient to cover all of the bases. The advanced Boolean operators will come in handy in that case!
You might have noticed there is an Advanced Mode option below the Basic mode.
The advanced mode section is a more complex one, but nonetheless, it can be easily mastered. It allows a very precise determination of your query, hence yielding even more relevant results.
When you click on the Advanced mode, the keyword input area will change into one box in which you can manually enter the aforementioned or other Boolean operators.
If you ever need an explanation or reminder of each boolean operator, simply click on the Show examples. Here is where you’ll find all the information you need at a glance – an overview of all Boolean operators you can use, as well as an example for each one’s use.
Simply click on Close examples to return to the preview screen.
At any given moment, you can click on the Back to basic mode to return to the previous input mode.
Now, let’s see what each of the remaining Boolean operators does:
NEAR/N operator enables you to track only mentions in which Keyword 2 appears a specified (N) number of words after or before Keyword 1. In order to do so, replace the N with the desired number of words between your keywords.
For example, you might want to track posts in which people look for suggestions for the best restaurant at a certain location. Typing out something like this…
…would result in tracking mentions that contain the phrase “best restaurant” near “Zagreb”, our location, in the text of the mention.
AT LEAST/N operator allows you to set a minimum number of added keywords that have to be present in a mention in order to appear in your search results.
So, we could add a query such as the one below.
As a result, our feed would show articles and posts that contain at least four of the keywords. If there’s a post with, for example, “media monitoring”, “real-time” and “relevant information”, we would not get that mention in our feed in this case, as the minimum of keywords is set to 4.
Asterisk (*) is an operator which replaces any number of signs. Use it to easily track different variations of the same word, without the need to write every single one down.
Let’s say we want to track everything related to cooking. We could track the following:
Adding an asterisk after your keyword means your results will include mentions of everything that contains “cook” in the word. So, that would mean that you would receive “cook” in your mentions, but also mentions of cooks, cooking, cooker, and so on. You can always use negative words to refine your results if their scope is too wide.
A question mark (?) is an operator that replaces one or no sign. If you put a question mark after your keyword, as a result, you would get mentions of all the posts that (might) contain exactly one letter more than your keyword.
So, if we set tracking for the query below,
our results would contain mentions of “mediatoolki” or “mediatoolkit” or any other sign that could replace the question mark (but doesn’t have to).
A full stop (.) is an operator that replaces exactly one sign that must appear. Let’s clarify it using an example such as this one:
For such a query, our results would include mentions of “books”, “cooks”, “looks”, etc. Basically, if a full stop can be replaced with a letter to form a meaningful word mentioned anywhere online, it will be present in your feed.
/CS is shortened from case sensitive. As the name suggests, it is an operator that makes sure you only get mentions with capitalized letters, for example, if distinguishing uppercase from lowercase is important for your query.
Keep in mind that any mentions of your keyword that are not written in the exact manner you specified, be it uppercase or lowercase, will not show up in your results.
When you want to track a full stop or a question mark as a part of your keyword or a phrase, you may need to use the backslash (\) operator.
As we mentioned before, both of the two are also operators, so when we want to track them, rather than use them to track something, we should add a backslash before the full stop or question mark in our keyword.
So, if you wanted to track the phrase “how are you?”, you would write it down like this:
Not adding a backslash would mean that the question mark is not a part of our keyword, but an operator that replaces one sign.
The quotation marks (“ “) operator is used when tracking a phrase. By adding a quotation mark before and after your phrase, you differentiate an exact phrase you wish to track from an array of standalone keywords.
So, returning to our first example of marketing news, updates, and trends, you could enter those phrases like this:
ORDER – /ORDER
This operator is used for tracking a specific word order.
This query will match “Mediatoolkit has an order operator”, but not “Order operator is one of many operators in Mediatoolkit”.
The TITLE operator is used for tracking keywords within the titles of the articles.
This means that ‘Mediatoolkit’, as per this example, has to be mentioned in the title for a mention to appear.
OCCURS operator defines how many times a keyword must appear in the article.
BOOLEAN OPERATORS COMBINED
To get the most relevant results possible, you can use multiple Boolean operators simultaneously! Now that you know what each one of them does, it’s easy to combine them. When doing so, use brackets to determine which operators connect with desired keywords.
We’ll use a more complex example here – let’s track the Blackberry smartphone. Instantly, we can predict that using ‘blackberry’ as a keyword without additional context will provide results that also include mentions of blackberry, the fruit.
Based on that, what Boolean operators would you use? Let’s see!
Here is our suggestion broken down into three presumptions:
As we know, BlackBerry with capital ‘B’s is how the company is titled and most usually mentioned. To start, we should use the case-sensitive operator.
Secondly, let’s use the operator AND to specify we want to see mentions of Blackberry only if they’re alongside ‘smartphone’ or ‘company’.
Finally, we need to remove mentions of blackberry the fruit from our mentions. Rather than doing it manually after the tool has found all the mentions, let’s use the Boolean operator AND NOT to ensure our results won’t contain those mentions in the first place.
All in all, our query input would thus look like this:
Now that you’ve finished this tutorial, Boolean operators should be a piece of cake. If you’re more of a pizza type, though, check out this awesome infographic about Boolean operators based on pizza!
If you’re still stuck with the process of refining your search by using Boolean operators, don’t hesitate to reach out via chat or email. Our Customer Service team would love to help!