How to Setup and Use Google Custom Search Engine

Read time: about 3 minutes (781 words)

According to this page on Internet Live Stats, there's 3.5 billion searches per day on Google.

It's easy to see why; Google is a really powerful search engine.

But what is Google Custom Search Engine?

Did you know that Google allows you to use their search engine as a search engine for your own site?

This is exactly what Google Custom Search Engine is. I really hope you figured that out all on your own!

It's often shortened to CSE.

What's better, is that you can link it to your Adsense account and make a little side-money any time someone searches your website.

Doing this is easier than you'd think!

If you want to see how this works, you can try the search form at the top of this page in the header.

This blog doesn't run on any of the existing platform like Wordpress. This blog is custom built by my own fingers, and I hadn't built in a search feature.

Choosing to use Google Custom Search Engine for my site seemed ideal for a few reasons.

  • I didn't have to spend time programming search functionality.
  • It's free (who doesn't like free stuff?)
  • I get paid for people using it.
  • It uses the worlds best, and most popular search engine.

If you're in a similar situation with your website, it may make sense for you to take a similar approach.

In this short guide, I'll show you how to set it up and make a bit of extra money with it.

Let's get into it.

1. Create a new Custom Search Engine

First things first; We have to create our new search engine.

Simply head over to http://google.com/cse/

Click the 'Add' button.

step 1

Step 1 of 7 done. See, that wasn't too hard, was it? Let's continue.

2. Search Engine Setup

You'll need to add the pages you would like to search here.

For my website, I added synbyte.com/*.

You can limit the searchable pages to folders, or even just a single page.

You can name the search engine anything you'd like. I recommend naming it the same as your website.

When you're done, press the 'CREATE' button.

step 2

3. Done? Well, not yet...

step 3

You should see something like the above image. That's it! Your search engine is created. Let's add it to your site.

Hit the 'Get code' button.

4. Let's copy some code

step 4

You'll need to copy and paste this code into the page you would like the search results to appear.

When a user searches your site, they'll use a search form, which will then redirect them to a new page. On that new page, the results will be shown. This is where you need to place this code.

You'll need to adjust the code for your search form so that the user is sent to the page that will display the results.

The code for my search form looks something like this;

search form code

5. Let's focus on what's more important

Let's switch over to the 'Make money' tab. That money isn't gonna make itself, you know.

step 5

5. Enable Adsense

Click the button to enable Search Engine Monetization!

At this point you'll be asked by Google to link your CSE account to your Adsense account. If you don't have a Google Adsense account already, I highly suggest you go and do that now.

step 6

7. Done!

That's it.

If you see a screenshot like the one below, you're done.

How easy was that?

step 7

Through the control panel, you can customize the colors of the text and link that the results produce. You should take this moment to make sure that the colors fit in with the colors of the page where the search results will appear.

There's various other features you can enable within the control panel. Take a minute or two to go through the options and turn on/off what you want.

One of the best things about the Custom Search Engine is that once you've put the code on your website, the rest of the work is done through the control panel.

There's no need to tinker with any code after that.

Conclusion

Implementing Google Custom Search Engine isn't hard. If you have a website that's lacking a search feature, you may very well benefit. It lets your users easily search the content on your website. And as a bonus, you get a little bit of money on the side!

To make a considerable amount of extra money, you'll need to have quite a lot of people use your search feature. It could be worthwhile trying to find ways to get people to use your search function more.

Adding your search form to your 404 page will be a good idea.

Have you tried CSE?