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Google Custom Search Engine (CSE) - New Tools for Publishers in Vertical Search

Posted on November 11, 2006

By Mike Banks Valentine

Have you created your own Custom Search Engine (CSE) since Google announced in late October that they had launched this tool?

One of the huge benefits of the user generated Google CSE's is that they may turn up in Google OneBox results if one becomes popular enough and people choose it as a trusted source. Nobody has confirmed that yet, but it was one of the benefits of the previous generation Google Co-op "Subscribed Links" program, which is profiled after it's launch in a Danny Sullivan post at Search Engine Watch blog back on May 10th of this year when Google announced Co-op.

Custom Search Engines, based on Google Co-op, until last week had required a geek's knowledge of XML to use effectively. Google CSE has simplified that tool and made it accessible to the rest of us by creating an administration control panel which eliminates the need to "code your own" subscribed links in XML documents. Now it's easy and any webmaster can create one - and if they know basic HTML - can have that CSE hosted on their own site.

When you create your own customized search engine through Google Co-op, it is possible for anyone to see customized search results drawing only from trusted sites you choose to search. This is similar to the search engine, which allows you to create customized search which draws from Yahoo results, but only allows 25 sources.

Google Customized Search appears to have no limit on the number of sources and is also allowing you to incorporate Adsense into the search results so that if your custom search engine becomes popular, you can benefit from the traffic generated to your CSE. this is true of both your site-hosted version and the Google-hosted public CSE which is created simultaneously.

Rollyo sends searchers who use your Rollyo custom search engine to their site, while Google Custom Search Engine allows visitors to search from a page on your site AND see the results on your site, keeping them there, rather than sending them away to another site. It also creates a Google public CSE page simultaneously, available at a long URL with your ID embedded.

There is also a new directory which has started up (apparently in partnership with Google) in order to list quality Custom Search Engines created by site owners. They also allow you to suggest other CSE's for inclusion in their directory (free membership required). They then link directly to those searches at Google from the directory. Here's their launch press release.

Chris Sherman, at did a thorough overview of the new Google Custom Search Engine tool October 24 at:

So I happened to be writing an article about Corporate SEO Job Searches when I saw that announcement. I immediately went to Google Co-op and created my own search engine which searches all the top SEO job boards for Search Engine Optimization Employment listings. This Google CSE is an incredible tool that allows you to simultaneously filter out all the junk, while at the same time broadening your search beyond just one jobs board at a time.

What's even better is that when you use query operators like "" (which is one of the source sites I included) that it returns only those results from that source. If you add a city name or state to the search box, it returns only SEO jobs offered in that city or state. There is nearly zero fluff or search engine spam remaining in the search results and you get EXACTLY what you were searching for.

I suspect that the Custom Search Engine tool will see a huge surge in popularity once people realize how powerful it can be when you use the CSE tool from trusted sites. I sincerely hope nobody figures out how to game this thing so that it can continue to improve search without polluting results.

Here's a novel idea which I incorporated into another CSE I created for my Small Business Ecommerce Tutorial at WebSite101 last week - that is to include in the list of sites searched, in this case for �Small Business Health Insurance.�

This provides quality results with resources that provide INFORMATION on the topic, rather than pure insurance sales sites. That custom search engine provides a lot of EzineArticles results mixed in with department of labor, small business administration, Kaiser Foundation, National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) and other trusted sites on the topic of small business.

I intend to include EzineArticles as a trusted source in other custom search engines in different topic areas on WebSite101 as well because it has a such a rich resource of available material from experts on dozens of topics and would be a valuable resource for those custom search engines in many broad topic areas.

I'm off to create some more of these things and plan on making them central features of several of my own sites. I suspect that many will create CSE's on dozens of amazing topics and can't wait to see how this affects the search landscape. Quality of resource sites included in those CSE's are critical, so are those sites filtered OUT of the results by the creators of customized search engines.

It is readily apparent from the first search engine results page how well it has been designed. I believe quality will reign here because nobody will continue to use a custom search which provides spammy results. Bad CSE's will disappear or possibly only be used by the dopes that design them, while good CSE's will flourish due to quality results generated and will likely increase in popularity and traffic.

CSE's will live or die by the results they produce. If they are designed with care and keep out the search engine spam, while showing valued and trusted sources, they will grow in popularity and traffic. It will be extremely interesting to see whether Google will favor trusted sites from these CSE's in results. How Google makes use of the long list of trusted sites and traffic and popularity figures of these custom search engines could produce huge gains in the trusted sites portion of their search algorithm.

About the Author

Mike Banks Valentine blogs about search engines at and created a custom search engine on the topic of SEO Job Searches as well as a CSE on Small Business Health Insurance Information

Copyright � October, 2006 by Mike Banks Valentine


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