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Free site search

Posted by Michael Bloch in web development (Thursday October 30, 2008 )

Web sites are like rabbits in the sense that pages tend to grow in numbers very quickly. For example, this site was originally just a few pages with links to resources for my clients, but over the years it’s grown to over 1300 on the main site.

As web sites grow larger, the need for solid search facilities certainly becomes an issue and many search applications provided with CMS and blog software just don’t cut it.

While doing a bit of research for my latest article, “The leaky bucket syndrome”, I decided to check out what Google offers in terms of site search apps as folks not being able to find what they are looking for is one of the reasons they abandon a site. It’s been a while since I last looked and a lot has changed.

They offer two versions – free and premium. The free version displays AdWords, but if you’re an AdSense publisher, then you can collect revenue when those ads are clicked on.

If you’re an online store, it’s unlikely you’ll want to be sending folks to competitors, so the premium version is for you. I was pleasantly surprised by the price of the ad free version – for example, if you have up to 5,000 pages, it’s just a hundred bucks a year – which is good for 250,000 searches.

There’s all sorts of great features in the free and fee version; such as including one site, multiple sites, or specific webpages. You can host the search box and results on your own pages and if you decide to host it on Google’s pages, you can still customize the colors and branding. Of course, for premium users, there’s a bundle of additional features for taking better control of how the search engine works.

Check out Google Custom Search (free) and Google Site Search (premium)


The leaky bucket syndrome
Reducing shopping cart abandonment
Reassuring your site visitors.


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