Create a Google custom search engine
- Article 2 of 3
- .net, June 2007
Rob Buckley shows to make your site the best search engine of them all with Google’s Co-Op technology
When you think of search, more often than not you think of Google. It’s even become a verb, despite the best attempts of its legal department to prevent it – have you “Googled” someone today? But it’s become much more than just a web search engine. Since you can embed it in your web site, it’s also become an easy way to add a search facility to your site’s pages.
The ability to use Google as site search engine has been around for a while now and is reasonably common. As long as Google can access all the pages on your site and it updates its indexes as often as you update your pages, it’s a great, hassle-free and cheap tool to make your site’s content available to visitors, whether you use static pages or a content management system.
But recently, Google created a new version of its embeddable search engine. As well as being customisable so it matches your site’s look and feel, Google’s Co-Op Custom Search Engine can be set to search a list of sites as well as your own or it can search the whole web. You can also preload it with search terms so that it favours particular kinds of searches – so if your site is about karate, for example, if someone searches for “belt”, the results of the search can favour karate belts, rather than those available from Marks & Spencer.
But as the name suggests, Google Co-Op is also a collaborative system. If you want, other people can add additional sites to the search engine you’ve developed. You can also add “refinements” – keywords that narrow searches down further – to your search engine. These refinements are shared with other custom Google search engines and anyone using Google’s Marker service can tell Google which refinements apply to the web sites they visit. That means search using your search engine will be even more targeted. Pretty soon, you can develop the premier search engine for a specific niche. In fact, you can develop as many premier custom search engines as you want and embed them all in your web site if you choose – Google won’t stop you. And others can embed your search engine in their sites, too.