Alternatives to Google site search
Friday, 1st December 2017
If you have a Google site search on your website, you might be surprised to hear that Google have decided to discontinue it, and it will be completely shut down by April 1st 2018 - no joke.
Google site search was a useful and easy way to get all of the power of Google on your website search. It was ideal if your website had lots of products, or news items or pages, all of which needed to be searchable. And it came with all the features that make Google what it is, such as suggesting alternatives to spelling mistakes, synonyms and so on but without any ads.
So What are the Alternatives?
Google Custom Search
You can plug a Google custom search into your website, but it comes with ads (to other websites, probably your competitors) and Google branding that you can't remove.
Amazon Cloud Search
This is a managed search service in the AWS cloud. There's quite a bit of set-up and configuration to do, and there's a monthly cost to run it too.
A Bespoke Search
We developed a bespoke search facility for a client of ours (www.pondkeeper.co.uk) who previously had a Google site search. The search that we developed not only looks around the entire website, but if a search is carried out that doesn't return any results, the website owner is notified and they can associate the "dead end" search with another word, that does return some options.
This is a great way to give a website search the power and intelligence of a Google search, while at the same time retaining full control over the way the search works.
You can see it in action if you search for "algea" you are shown products with the word "algae" in them (as they have been associated together).
If you have a Google site search on your website and you want to discuss alternatives in advance of the shutdown next April, please get in touch.