February 11, 2010

Adding Google Custom Search to Your Site


Hostway Team

By Bruce Tyson

Google, the leading Internet search engine, provides over two-thirds of all online searches. Google is popular because it has perfected the art of helping users find what they are looking for. Now Google’s technology is available for Webmasters and bloggers so visitors can find content on their Web site.

The importance of custom search on a Web site cannot be underestimated. A Web site can contain a treasure trove of information, but what good is that information if no one can find it? Users who can’t find information on your Web site will go elsewhere, depriving your site of revenue, popularity, and ranking. Regardless of the function of your site, implementing Google Custom Search will help satisfy your customers with the information they want.

Google’s most popular site search option, Google Custom Search, is available for blogs and other Web sites that are operated by an individual or a business. Google’s AdSense for Search works with Google Custom Search to enhance the revenue generated by your site.

The functionality of Google Custom Search is impressive: it allows visitors to get relevant results from your Web site, and from other sites you define. Best of all, Google Custom Search is easy to install and does not require the installation of any software: just a small piece of HTML code. You can add Google search to your site by following a few simple steps.

First, you need to log into Google. Go to www.google.com and click the “Sign in“ link at the top right corner of the screen. If you do not have a Google Account already, you can create one. After signing in, visit the following URL to get started with Google Custom Search: http://www.google.com/cse/.

Next, click the “Create a Custom Search Engine” button. Enter a name for your search engine, and give it a brief description. Decide whether you want your search engine to look only at sites you define or to search the entire web emphasizing your selected sites. The sites you want to search are defined in the “Select some sites” box. Click the “Tips on formatting URLs” link for help. You can choose the free, ad supported version of Google Custom Search Engine, or you can pay for the business edition. Finally, check the box to agree with Google’s terms of service and then click “Next.”

The “Preview” page allows you to try out your custom search engine. When you are ready, click the “Finish” button, which takes you to your “My search engines” page. Under “Search engines I’ve created,” click your search engine’s name and then click “Add this search engine to your blog or Web page.” On the “Add this gadget to your Web page” screen, you can customize the appearance of your search engine and then click “Get the code.” A box appears with HTML code that you need to copy and post into the HTML of one or more pages on your site.

About the Author

Bruce Tyson has been managing Internet domains for multiple entities for more than 15 years. Functioning as a consultant in a variety of business and academic Web venues, he also operates several Web sites of his own.

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