Wordpress & Web Development

How To Add A Search Engine To Your Website

Mark O'Neill 08-11-2008

make-favicon-icoIn the second part of my “Back To Basics” series How To Easily Create A Favicon For Your Blog Read More , and following on from Wendy’s article on adding a search function to your Blogger blog How To Add A Simple Search To Your Blogger Blog Every blog should include a search feature. If a reader has to click on every page or in every category to find what they are looking for they may leave out of frustration. Adding a... Read More , 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” :

adding google search to website


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:

How To Add A Search Engine To Your Website googleadsense1

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:

Google Custom Search [No Longer Available]

add google search bar to blog


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.

Yahoo Search

add yahoo search to your website

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]

windows live search


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!


How To Add A Search Engine To Your Website freefindsearch 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!


Related topics: Blogging, Google AdSense, Webmaster Tools.

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  3. franky
    November 22, 2008 at 4:11 am

    second i went to your own site and there it does not work eather

  4. Liz4.0
    November 9, 2008 at 1:09 pm

    Very useful article. Thanks for the good advice. There are always folks out there who are still on a Webmaster learning curve!

    I tried Windows Live Search first. Not sure how often they include your site updates in their search results, but their initial list of results was fairly accurate (you can test the search function before adding it to your site.)

    It's easy to activate your search box, and the search graphic itself is blessedly small and low profile.

    Re searching your site and the Web as well -- if you sign up using their "Advanced Live Search" function (rather than "Basic"), the resulting window of search results from your Web site also includes tab and link to search the same term on the Web as a whole.

    I thought the whole function was designed rather nicely -- not cluttered, but offering a good set of basic options.

    There are 1-3 small ads a la Google AdSense (keyed to related search terms) on a side panel, but these are not intrusive.

    The search results window also opens inside your site, which is nice if you want to encourage visitors to stay on your site longer.

    There are a few ways to customize your search box, but not many. The design is so clean, however, that not many are needed.

    I may graduate to something else eventually, and will ask our members and visitors to field test for awhile. But at first glance, it seems to be a simple, quick and free way to add the basic search features for both your site and the Web.

    • Mark O'Neill
      November 9, 2008 at 1:17 pm

      Exactly. This is why I am starting these "back to basics" articles - because I can see from the emails I get that there are people out there who don't know a lot of things and who are still learning the basics.

      If there's anything you want me to cover, let me know.

  5. henk
    November 9, 2008 at 2:14 pm

    been using atomz.com free search for a while. works like a bomb. nice post.

  6. Danh ba web 2.0
    November 9, 2008 at 9:07 am

    Great post. Thanks you !

  7. henk
    November 9, 2008 at 2:05 pm

    hi there. been using atomz (atomz.com) free search for my site, works like a charm. btw nice post.