Building Custom Search engine with Google CSE

Did you know that Google has a product to create  customized search engine with or without programming knowledge? Earning upto 51% share on revenue generated from Ad clicks?

Google CSE

BASIC FAQs on Google CSE

What is Google CSE?
  • Google custom search engine (Formerly known as Google Co-op) is a platform to create your own search engine for free with or without any technical knowledge launched in 2006.
  • According to Wikpedia page on Google Custom Search, with right combination of websites included and prioritized could offer better topical search results than the Standard Google Search. 
  • All Google CSE which are monetized comes under Google Search Network ( We ran experiment with 10 Google CSEs and found that CPC in each Google custom search engines are different based on user engagement and sites allowed in search engines) 

Whats the Benefit of using Google CSE?
  • Google CSE could act as excellent internal search engine- which not only through Titles and content but also identifies synonyms to identify right articles for the search term within the site
  • You could monetize the searches with Ads and get 51% of the share on each click (Under Google Adsense, Which is lesser compared to Banner Ads in site which fetches 68% share)
  • CPCs (Cost per Click for Ads) in Google CSE are actually very Good and few times comes close to CPCs in Google Search depending on the user engagement (But remember you get only 51%)

But why some ads which comes in Google doesn't show up in my search engine? and what about product listing ads,UAC and dynamic ads?

  • It depends on the advertiser, some advertisers do not want to show ads in search partners, while some do.
  • Other types of ads are generally not shown in custom search engines unless it gets good traffic.

What's special about Google CSE?
  • Custom design
  • Can be implemented in any website
  • You can choose the websites to be shown or blocked in search engine
  • You can promote many websites for many keywords, it'll be shown to users even while they're typing the query and as special first result.
  • Search by freshness of the post ( search by date) is supported
  • You can add any tabs ( Just like Shopping, Images tab on Google) if you can code it.

Why is Google creating it's own competitor with Google CSE? Isn't that a bad move?
  • No, Google might be thinking in the other way keeping in mind the CPC rates in the future, custom search engines can help in acquiring new advertisers who cannot compete with biggies in Google Search , Google might lose a bit of its share in this case, but still rules without competition.
  • Morever Google can actually get what people are searching for within few Popular sites while they're not searching for the term directly in Google

Getting Started with Google CSE

  • Login to Google Custom Search Engine
  • Decide and Enter the list of Websites that needs to be part of your search engine as well as the name of your search engine.
Creating Search Engine with Google CSE

Here you can add either full domain or restricted to single page too
  • On the next page, your search engine will be ready and Google gives the code to implement in website as well as Public URL on the Search engine and control panel to further customize your search engine.
On the Customization Front, Its pretty much plug and play unless you want to customize your search engine to granular level

  • Add keywords, Description to your search engine
  • Options for Image search and Safe Search
  • Search Engine Regions, Languages, API Access, Website and Knowledge Graph Exclusions
  • Option to Search the entire Web with your search engine

Look and Feel
  • Layout & Themes 
  • Option to disable thumbnail
  • Option to add logo and choose colors of everything inlcluding URL and snippet that appears

Search Features
  • Promotions: You can choose to promote any site for any queries (This is not considered as an ad in search engine)
  • Refinements in Search: You can add entities or labels the site should contain for prioritization in search results
  • Auto complete: You can include/exclude patterns/words for sponsored auto suggestions. Eg: Including Course would would prioritize course in autosuggestion for relevant searches... while user types data science, data science course would be first autosuggestion
  • Synonyms: You can manually add synonyms to help search engine understand and refine its searches better

Advanced Refinements:
  • Sorting the results: Results can be sorted by date, Relevance by the user. In addition to this, Search engines can be customized to sort results based on other keys like Page Maps (More like Additional Sitelinks which is applicable only in Search partners and not Google Search), Rich snippets (Ratings and Reviews Markup)  or Meta tags (Keywords for page- No longer considered as ranking metric in Google Search)
  • Web search settings;
    • Refinements as tabs/links,
    • Results Browsing History: Should search engine save info and allow user to come back to search after he exits the website,
    • Should there be Structured data in results,
    • No Results String: Default text to display when there are no results
    • Link target: Should the website link opened in same or different tab?
    • Query addition: Query which gets appended to query searched by user
  • Web  & Image search Restricts:
    • Language Restrictions
    • Result Size: Number of results per page
    • Sort by: Date or relevance- Recommended to keep it relevance by default
    • As Sitesearch: Restrict search results to a specific site
    • Extra Query Terms: That will be added with Query by Logical OR
    • Filtering: To automatically filter results that look similar
    • Default to Image Search: Enabling which makes default search results to be Image search

Are there Other Products similar to Google CSE?

Under Adsense for Search (AFS), Google has two products to monetize searches
  • Custom Search Ads: Custom Search Ads are displaying ads in search results within your site while keeping your search engine the same
  • Custom Search Engines: The Whole search Engine will be from Google side
Both of the Products give the same 51% revenue share for Ads and supports the below 4 ASQs (Alternative Search Queries).
As per Google's Official page on ASQs , Alternative Search Queries (ASQs) are any means of triggering search results (search engine results page or SERP) other than a user entering a query in a search box. The query text that generates the SERP can be used to request Google Custom Search Ads (CSA) within the guidelines on this page.

Alternative Search Queries- Google CSE
Image Source: Google ASQ Page
  • Popular Search: ASQ generated for most common text searches inside the site
  • Suggested Search: Similar to Autosuggestion on Google Search
  • Related Search: Similar to Related Searches in Google Search
  • Category Browse: Category or sub category links in Menu can be replaced by ASQ
In addition to these, Google actually have two CSE (Programmable Search Engine and Regular CSE), Programmable Search Engine has additional options to customize your search engine by your own code. 

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  1. Ads not shown in custom search me to get the ads in search engine

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