Google Custom Search
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Google Custom Search is a service provided by Google Inc., which allows you to set up a custom search feature for your website.
If you set up Google Custom Search on your website, a Google search box will be integrated on it and provide a corresponding search functionality. Unlike the regular Google search engine, your search won’t cover the entire web. Instead it will be a custom search where the site operator defines which pages will be searched. It can be differentiated as follows:
- www.sample.com/page.html - Individual subpages
- www. sample.com/* - complete site
- www. sample.com/docs/ - certain areas of a web page
- * .example.com - complete domain including all subdomains
In addition to the website where this search function is set up, other websites can be searched using Google custom search. The site operator can thus directly affect which search results will be displayed. Once all the necessary adjustments have been made, the site operator can integrate the search box into their website. To this end, Google provides an HTML code that can be integrated in theregion of your homepage. In addition, a public URL can be retrieved via the custom search directly from the browser similar to the regular Google search engine.
There is a wide range of options to customize the Google custom search. Some examples:
- Integration of Google image search
- Websites to be searched
- Integration of Google AdSense ads on search results pages
- Graphic adaptation with various preset layouts and designs
- Custom graphic adaptation in terms of font, border color, and background color
- Activation of the autocomplete search terms
- Connection of the Google custom search with Google Analytics to analyze the search behavior of site visitors
Both the search box itself and the search results pages can be largely customized to your pages in terms of design, so that at first glance it is hard to see that this is actually an external service. How to accurately set up and configure Google custom search is explained in this YouTube video.
Google custom search is free, however, there are some limitations. It cannot be completely customized in terms of design. Furthermore, the search box will be shown as Google custom search. If you don’t want that or wish to make further design modifications, you can upgrade to the paid Google site search version. The annual price for it varies depending on the total number of searches annually and is usually between 100 to 2,000 US dollars.
Benefits of Google Custom Search
Google custom search presents many advantages for site operators and users alike:
- The weaknesses of search capabilities in CMS can be bypassed
- Suggestions for search terms that brought little or no results
- Use of search options and filters
- Limitation to your own website is possible
- Easy integration and operation
- Making money with Google AdSense ads on search results pages
- Free use
Relevance to search engine optimization
Google custom search has no significant importance for search engine optimization because the ranking of a website cannot be affected by its use. But it is important, however, in the field of conversion optimization. A functional and easy to use search function is a must to ensure good usability. Google custom search can often serve this purpose better than an internal search.