Posted: April 30, 2008
For larger websites with lots of information, it’s always a good idea to include some sort of internal search that searches your site in case your visitors cannot find the information they are looking for. Google’s Custom Search Engine offers a really good solution to adding a section function to your website. If you already have a gmail account, it’s easy to set up and it allows you to choose which URLs you want searched. Once you’ve set it up to search your website, some HTML is provided that contains the <input> field for the search words, which can be pasted into the spot on your site where you want the search to appear.
Advertising appears in the right column, however this advertising can be removed by paying $100 / year to Google.
One of the best reasons for setting up a website search using Google is the Custom Search Engine is that it integrates well with Google Analytics. The keywords that your visitors are typing into the search, what pages they’re starting their search from, and what page they are ending up on from their search results are all recorded in Google Analytics. This can offer a lot of insight into visitor behaviour. If a certain search word shows up frequently on this list, it probably means that visitors cannot find the information and may suggest a change to your website is necessary to make it easier to find that content being searched for.