In the second part of my “Back To Basics” series, and following on from Wendy’s article on adding a search function to your Blogger blog, I would like to talk today about adding a search engine to your website or blog. This is one of the most asked questions in my email inbox – which search engine should be added to a website and which ones should be avoided.
Most webmasters and bloggers naturally follow the money trail and add a Google Adsense search engine but if you don’t want to do that, there are some decent free alternatives out there.
The Google Adsense option
Let’s first look at the Adsense option since that’s the most popular route that people take. I have an Adsense search engine on my own blog so I am very familiar with it.
I am very happy with the Adsense engine as it pulls in some decent money on a monthly basis. Nothing to get hyper-excited about but it funds my tea and chocolate chip cookie addiction! Basically, whenever someone uses your Adsense search engine to make search queries on your website, you get a small payment from Google. If you get enough regular visitors to your site using your search engine, that can add up to quite a nice payment at the end of the month, especially if they are using the other aspects of Adsense as well such as clicking on the adverts (but no money gets paid out until you reach a minimum $100).
After being approved by Google for an Adsense account, just click on “Adsense Setup” then “Adsense For Search” :
You’ll then be asked to fill in details such as your site URL, your site language, site location and you can customize the look and feel of the search engine. You can also customize the search results page such as being able to put your logo on the page. Then you will receive the HTML code to put the search engine on your webpage. This is what mine looks like:
The free options
But what if you don’t want Adsense on your site? What if making money from search is not your thing? Well it would make you a unique and remarkable person to turn down cash but OK, there are free and decent alternatives out there. Let’s take a look at four of them:
As well as Adsense, Google also offers a free Custom Search engine that is really easy to set up. The free version requires you to accept adverts on the search results page though.
This is a basic search box but it does its job and searches your website and you can also choose to search Yahoo Search as well.
Windows Live Search [No Longer Available]
Again a basic search box which you can either configure to search your site or search the web. I don’t think you can have a search box that does both. Pesky Steve Ballmer!
Freefind has been around for years and I used it on my many websites before I moved onto Google Adsense. It was (and still is to my knowledge) absolutely great. Here are some of the things I liked about it :
- Daily re-indexing
- Emailed search reports with the search terms your visitors put into your search engine.
- Schedule when you want the search indexes spidered – as often or as little as you want.
- Adobe PDF file indexing – the spiders don’t ignore them!
- Specify exactly what pages you want the spiders to ignore and they get ignored.
- Other formats such as Word and Powerpoint are recognised and indexed.
- A sitemap is automatically generated for you.
So these are just four alternative options for adding search engine to your website if Adsense is not something you want to get involved in, but at the same time, you would like to have some kind of search function on your website.
Do you have any other preferred search engine for your website? If so, let us know in the comments!