Browsers Internet

5 Ways to Do a Site-Specific Search Using Search Engines

Saikat Basu 17-07-2009

Life’s primary vocation is search”¦ for happiness, for love or for that vital piece of information on the web. Search and search engines are the glue that binds the WWW together. Search engines bring us to the doorstep of the right information resources. But very frequently, we need to dig deeper into a single site to harvest its information. That is why most well designed websites/blogs/directories have internal site-specific search engines.


But in our quest for the right data, how many times have we come across a website which lacks a search engine of its own? There have been sites which I could have loved more but alas for a search box of its own. Then there are sites which do have a search box but you aren’t quite getting what you want. So it’s worth a second try with some deep digging of your own.

So for such crunch times, here are some workarounds to do an internal search on a specific website or blog.

    1. Google Site Search Query

The ol’ favorite reminds us the value of memorizing advanced Google search operators. Google indexes most sites on the web and so the “˜site:‘ search query helps to limit your search within a website. For instance, the query antivirus will return results for the keyword antivirus but only from (Their shouldn’t be a space between the colon and the domain name).


The site: operator can also be used to restrict searches within one top domain. For instance, keyword site:net or keyword site:edu. This works on Yahoo and Bing too.


According to a little poll we had some while back, it is the third most liked Google operator.

    1. Search Engines and Advanced Search Options

Most search engines have this feature as an option but you just have to go into the advanced search page. Here’s where you get it in these two popular (one upcoming) search engines.

For Google



For Yahoo


For Bing


    1. Use a Firefox Add-on

Search Site is an experimental Firefox add-on which makes site-specific searches very easy. The local search can be done either by selecting a word on a webpage and using the right-click context menu (Search site for selection).


Or by clicking the Search Site green icon on the search bar. You can use the search engine of your choice to do the site-specific search.



Also check out the use of Firefox smart keywords.

    1. Use a web service

Though the interface is plain, the search interface does the job intended using the Google search engine. Specify the domain URL in the first field and then use the second step to query the specific domain.


    1. Create your own site searcher using Rollyo

Rollyo lets you roll on with your search by providing an easy non-geeky way to create a customized search engines for sites you want – rather than the whole worldwide web. Pick the sites you want to search, and Rollyo creates a custom search engine for it.

You can create a search engine for one specific site or a max of 25 sites. You can also browse, use, modify and share Searchrolls (the created search engines) created by the community of users on Rollyo. Any Rollyo Searchroll can be added to Firefox for one click access. For a quick single site setup, you can use the Rollyo Bookmarklet (no longer available) which not only lets you do a local search but also you can add sites to your Searchrolls on the fly.


Kaly’s post on creating your own search engines with Rollyo looks into in with more detail.

Sometimes we miss the trees because of the forest. A single site in itself instead of the whole wide web could be the source of all our information needs. So, it helps to dig deep into its coffers with specific searches.

What do you do if you come across a site which lacks a search box? Do you browse merrily away or you fall back on a utility like Google for advanced searching?

Related topics: Mozilla Firefox, Web Search.

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  1. Belz
    July 18, 2009 at 5:14 pm

    Thanks for this article, really helped me alot. This is very useful when finding trying to find something specific on websites! I never knew you could do this.

  2. arin
    July 18, 2009 at 7:16 am

    you can also use to do a site search and much more

    • Saikat
      July 19, 2009 at 1:37 am

      Yes, we can also use DeeperWeb using the Sites and Zonetags.

  3. Wallace
    July 18, 2009 at 5:28 am

    Nice post, it's very useful.

    • Saikat
      July 18, 2009 at 6:03 am

      Thanks, Wallace.