Customised Search with Google What it is Why you need it How to do it
Google Co-op allows you to create your own ‘vertical’, or personalised, search engine’. A vertical search is one that focuses on a particular area of interest or business. Google Co-op achieves this by allowing you to specify the sites Google looks at when it runs a search. By only returning the results from sites that you trust it ensures that results are relevant.
LGSearch searches just UK government websites. KMSearch focuses on knowledge management sites Findless has searches for Health & Safety and Education
Why is this useful? You can search just the sites you trust: no nasty links, spam or malware Just think of the time saved on sifting through thousands of results! The sites you search are there on merit – and a human has decided they should be there, not a computer Results are more likely to be relevant to you, whether in subject matter or geographically
First step to create your own search engine Create a list of sites – make sure you have plenty and store the list of URLs electronically so it’s easy to copy and paste!
Click here to get started. You’ll need to log into your Google account
Fill in the basic details about your search engine Add keywords to help people find it Choose how you want your search to work
Copy in all your sites that you want to start with Make a decision on adverts, then tick the box and click ‘Next’ to create the search Do you want to automatically add links from your sites to the search?
Try out your search engine to see if it works! Hit ‘Finish’ to go to your Google CSE page
Each of your searches has its own home page Manage each of your searches with the control panel View stats on how your search is being used
The home page you get from Google is functional, but pretty basic. We’ll see how something more exciting can be produced later
The control panel provides plenty of options The ‘Basics’ tab lets you change some of the stuff you set at the start
The ‘Sites’ tab let you manage the sites used, such as adding new ones You can add them one at a time or in bulk using the link Your search can automatically add sites linked to by sites you have chosen!
Depending on how your search works, you might want to exclude some sites. This would be if you are just giving priority to your selected sites.
The ‘refinements’ tab is very cool. It lets users filter their results even further! They are like tags, which when clicked either only show results from sites with that tag, or just move them to the top of the list.
The ‘Look and Feel’ tab lets you change the appearance of your search’s Google home page. You can add a logo, and change the colours that text and links appear in.
With a modest amount of effort, you can put a nice site together!
More than one person can add sites – people can join as collaborators. You can choose to just invite people you trust. Or you can allow people to apply to help you out on the site! Either way, you can retain control.
Every time someone clicks an ad on your search results page, Google gets paid. You can get a share of the loot by setting up an Adsense account!
The ‘Advanced’ tab is full of stuff I don’t understand… Don’t worry though – you don’t need it to be able to create and run your search engine.
After the horrors of ‘Advanced’, ‘Preview’ is a nice and simple demo of how your search works So you can test any changes you have made!
Way back when, we saw this screen. Let’s have a quick look at the stats.
Let’s check out the stats for LGSearch. Yup, that’s over 30k queries between Nov ’06 and Jun ‘07. You can view the stats daily, weekly, monthly or foreverly.
We can also see what people have been searching for! And if we wanted, we could embed the popular searches in our website.
Conclusion: Google Co-op is great because: It’s quick, easy, and free The stats are great – and really interesting. Labelling results for extra filtering is awesome! You can run it from Google, or embed it in your own site.
I hope this was useful… Dave Briggs [email_address]