I’ve been reading various bloggers write about the Google Custom Search Engine (though some people call it the Google Co-op search engine, is that the same thing?) and would like to try it. Can you show us step-by-step how to do it? Thanks!
I’ve also been interested in learning more about this, and you’re right that the bloggers seem to be a bit confused whether it’s the “custom search engine” or “co-op search engine”, but according to Google itself, the official name is the Google Custom Search Engine. (however, notice that the URL is google.com/coop/cse, and the Google logo on that page says “Google Coop Beta” so the confusion is quite understandable!)
Here’s how I built a computer troubleshooting search engine using Google’s slick new tool. Google promises that it’s really easy:
Click on that and you’ll get to specify some basic information about your new search engine, including its name, description and, most importantly, a set of keywords that will help Google accurately match the results with your niche:
I’ll call mine the “Tech Support Search Engine” and describe it as “An aggregation of the best tech support resources online, without any of the fluff!” Sounds good, yes?
For the all-important keywords, I’ve added “tech support, help, problem, troubleshooting, mac, pc, windows, mac os x, vista” and can always fine-tune that once we get some experience running searches.
The next section on the configuration page is where you enter the URLs of the sites that should be included:
I’m going to include this site, my friend Leo’s Ask Leo, and the tech support knowledgebase sites for Apple and Microsoft.
Now it’s time for the big decision: do you exclude all other sites, or do you just have the sites specified bubble up to the top, but actually include regular Google results too, just to ensure that people get the best possible results? I’m going to experiment with “Search only these sites” to see how things work, but I’d recommend you choose “Search the entire web but emphasize these sites” to ensure the best possible experience for your users.
One of the cool things about Google’s Co-op Custom Search Engine is that you can actually allow others to collaborate or contribute to the URL list, a smart community-based way to maximize the value of the custom search engine:
I’ll let others collaborate (perhaps you!) and see how that goes…
That’s all that’s required. I agree to the terms and services, click “Next” and can either preview or test my new search:
Or just wrap up:
I’m eager to go live with the new search engine, so rather than test it, I’ll just click “finish”. You might do that too, I don’t know! 🙂
Now the search engine is live and ready to test:
As you can see, I’m also a collaborator for fellow blogger Darren Rowse‘s ProBlogger Community Search Engine too, but I’ll write about that in a different posting.
Who would have thought we’d have a “My Search Engines” page on Google? Very cool.
This article wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t invite you to try out the Tech Support Search Engine for yourself: Tech Support Search Engine.
What do you think?