One of the keys to good website management is to make it as easy as possible for customers and visitors to search for the information they need. This can be achieved by a clear structure and good linking within your content but if your site gets a little more complicated then it’s always sensible to add a search facility.
Adding Google Custom Search is perhaps the easiest way to do this and has a number of brilliant advantages:
- It allows visitors to search your site for keywords and content. Google does this by limiting the results to your own pages. Although there is an option to return results for off your site too.
- You can further customise what you want visitors to see from the search engine. For instance, if you have several sites then you can include them all in the search results.
- You can stipulate other external sites that you would like included in search results. Let’s say you want to provide visitors with as much information as possible about the components of your product. You could include sites such as Wikipedia or other educational sites that give them more details.
- You can custom the search engine design to match your brand.
- You can link your visitor search engine behaviour to your Google Analytics account so that you can get a better insight into their behaviour.
- You can add in various searching features such as autocomplete or include promotions.
- You can even make a little extra money by incorporating Google AdSense (useful if you have a high volume of traffic to your site).
The great news is that incorporating Google Custom Search into your site is easy and you have access to a creation panel that can be updated at any time.
To create a simple search engine for your site, all you need to do is put the URL into the custom search engine creation page, add the parameters you need and click create. Google will then create the code for you which needs to be copied and put into the HTML of your site. Sound complicated? Don’t despair, this guide ‘Creating a custom search engine‘ from Google will talk you through the process.
You can do this manually by placing it in a <div> section on the body part of the site where you want it to appear. A far easier way of doing this, and the option most people use, is to install a HTML widget and just paste the code into this. If you use WordPress then there is an even easier way – use a plugin!
The control panel gives you the chance to not only add specific sites that will be searched but also to exclude those that you don’t want Google to show. This is useful if you want to make sure your competitors are not coming up as a search result on your own site.
With all the advantages of putting in a Google Custom Search box on your site, there’s no reason why your business shouldn’t have one. Even if you only have a rudimentary understanding of website construction and development, it is easy to add one and can provide valuable insights about your visitors that can help you develop and expand your content.