Twitter Advanced Search – Find those hidden gems

twitter advanced search

Twitter is a torrent of information. And those tweets just go whizzing by on your timeline!

So with all the noise on Twitter, how do you find the information or people you are looking for?

Well luckily for us, Twitter has provided a simple tool and some powerful tricks to help you find the exact things you are looking for.

Let’s take a detailed look at Twitter Advanced Search and how it can help you.

Twitter Advanced Search Interface

Doing searches using the advanced search interface provided by Twitter is actually pretty easy.

This is what it looks like:

twitter advanced search

You have four sections which you can fill out and help you find the tweets you are looking for.

I will break it down for you and provide some examples to help you understand how it works.

Words Section

The first is the Words section, which gives you lots of options for narrowing down your search.

Example 1.
If you wanted to find all the tweets containing blogging and fitness but not involving pilates.

  • Just put blogging and fitness in All of these words
  • Put pilates in None of these words

** Beware: These tweets will have both blogging AND fitness in them. If you want tweets with blogging OR fitness, use Any of these words

Example 2.

If you wanted to find all the tweets on blogging OR writing and including the topic weight loss

  • Just put blogging and writing in Any of these words
  • Put weight loss in This exact phrase

** We put weight loss in this exact phrase because we want tweets with these words written together (otherwise it could be weight and loss but anywhere in the tweet)

Example 3.

If you wanted to find all the tweets on blogging and fitness but not only in French

  • Just put blogging and fitness in All of these words
  • Choose French from the Written in list

Example 4.

If you wanted to find all the tweets on blogging and social media during the South by South West Festival in 2013 (#SXSW13).

  • Put blogging in All of these words
  • Put social media in This exact phrase (ensures you get these words together)
  • Put #SXSW13 in These Hashtags

People Section

This section is a lot easier to understand. You can add in the Twitter handles of people you want to find tweets:-

  • From these accounts 
  • To these accounts
  • Mentioning these accounts

All you need to do is type in a twitter handle or handles (eg. madlemmingz, justinbieber) into the field that does what you need.

Places Section

Because tweets are sent from a specific location, Twitter can help you narrow your tweets down to an area.

Simply type in where you want your tweets to come from.

For example,  if you are a physical business in Seattle, you might want customers near you – just type in Seattle and fill out any other relevant fields you need to find the tweets.

**Note: If you need a more accurate location, you can use Geocodes. There is more detail on this further down in this post – click this link if you want to jump to that.

Other Section

This section seems a little crazy, but it is actually quite helpful.

The attitude fields (positive, negative) help you find tweets where people are happy (or not). So you can use it to find people with problems your business can solve.

For example,  if you want to find people struggling to lose weight, just check the Negative attitude field, and then type in weight lose in the All of these words field.

Similarly, you can find people who are asking questions, or only find retweets. All by checking the appropriate field.

Twitter Advanced Search – Power Tips

The Twitter Advanced Search Interface is great, but sometimes you want a more detailed query.

That is where the following section comes in handy. It shows you how you can do the same queries as above and more.

And another benefit is, you can do it easily from the main Twitter page by just typing into the search field at the top.

Twitter search bar

Some of the extra possibilities you get include:

  • Date Range Searches
  • Location searches with a radius and Geolocation
  • Filters (specific content types)

The table below shows you the type of search, how you would do it, and the types of results you will get.

Search Type Example Results
Exact match “blogging tips” Tweets containing exactly this phrase “blogging tips”
OR Search blogging OR writing Tweets containing “blogging” or “writing”
AND Search blogging AND writing Tweets containing “blogging” and “writing”
NOT Search blogging -tips Tweets containing “blogging” and not “tips”
Question blogging tips? Tweets containing “blogging tips” in a question
Since a Date blogging since:2012-12-25 Tweets containing blogging tweeted since 25th December 2012
Until a Date blogging until:2012-12-25 Tweets containing blogging tweeted until 25th December 2012
Near a Place near:San Francisco Tweets sent near San Francisco
Near a Place Within a Distance near:San Francisco within:15mi Tweets sent near San Francisco within 15 miles
From a User from:madlemmingz Tweets sent from madlemmingz
To a User to:madlemmingz Tweets sent to madlemmingz
Positive Attitude 🙂 Tweets with a postive attitude
Negative Attitude 🙁 Tweets with a negative attitude
Hashtag Search #bloggingtips Tweets sent near San Francisco
User Search @madlemmingz Tweets sent containing @madlemmingz
Filter by Language lang:de Tweets sent in German (de)
Filters filter:links Tweets sent containing links – or (retweets, replies, images)

**Languages: This is a list of common two letter language codes for language filtering

Examples Using Twitter Advanced Search

The above list of search possibilities might seem a little confusing, so I thought I would explain a few of the less obvious ones.

1. Searches based on Attitude

Twitter has found a way of determining if tweets are positive or negative, and by using these symbols in your search you can find these kinds of tweets.

One great example of this is if you as a marketer are trying to find people with a specific problem which you can help them solve, and perhaps lure them to your website.

Let’s say you are selling a guide on how to lose weight fast:  why not search for people who are having trouble losing weight?

Search: can’t lose weight 🙁 

2. Searches based on Location

If you run a business with an actual store in the center of Seattle, then you are probably wanting to connect with or find customers nearby.

This is where Twitter location search comes in handy.

If you are selling nutrition supplements for adding muscle fast, you could search for people near you tweeting about this.

Search: can’t gain muscle near:Seattle within:15mi

3. Searches based on Specific Locations (Geocodes)

Location search can be a bit hit and miss with Twitter, so using Geocodes is your best bet.

I know, it sounds confusing, but just popover to this site and type in your address to get your Geocode.

Then, use the “Copy x,y” and add it (plus a search radius) to a search like this:


To break this down – it is the Latitude, Longitude, Search radius

This website has some great examples to show how you would use it in real life

And you can head over to this post on Twitter location search to see how to do it on TweetDeck, Hootsuite etc.

3. Searches based on a Question

This is a great way to find people who you might want to interact with.

For example, I stumbled across someone the other day (not actually using search, but by chance) who was asking if anyone knew how to migrate from blogger to wordpress?

If you offered this service, it could be something you are looking for with a search like: blogger wordpress migration ?

3. Filtering specific content types

Filtering is one of the things you can only do with this type of search.

Simply type in the word filter: following by any of the following types of content and you will only find tweets with this content in them:

  • retweets
  • replies
  • links
  • images
  • videos

For example, if I wanted to find all images related to Justin Bieber (some people’s favourite person): Bieber filter:images

Search Limit

One last detail you should be aware of: Twitter only allows searches on Tweets for the last 7 days. (special thanks to Diana for catching that in the comments).

Although there is the date range search, so I am not sure how that works really. And I can’t find any details from Twitter one it!

However,  if you want tweets that are older than that (or you can’t seem to find in Twitter Search), here is a way that you can find them.


There is a lot of power in Twitter search, and it can really help you find people who need your help or services.

Combine the right kinds of words and filters, and you will be finding the people or tweets you need in no time.

Try out the Twitter Advanced Search Interface to begin with, but if you want more power and freedom, learn the special words and just type them into the search bar as you use Twitter.

Photo credit: CarbonNYC via photopin cc


Are you really using Twitter Search properly?

How do you find the tweets or people you need on Twitter?

Let me know in the comments below.

About the Author Ashley Faulkes

Ashley is obsessed with SEO and WordPress. He is also the founder of Mad Lemmings. When he is not busy helping clients get higher on Google he can be found doing crazy sports in the Swiss Alps (or eating too much chocolate - a habit he is trying to break).

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