Thursday, February 07, 2008

Give web visitors the resources they need - Customized Google

Raise your hand if you answer yes to all of the following questions:
  • My company has a website
  • We have great resources on our website
  • Some of these resources help our customers and prospects learn more about what we do and affect the buying process
  • It's difficult to find these resources on our site
Your hand raised? I've got a fairly simple solution. If you're on my blog (that's directed to my RSS reader friends), you'll notice a shiny new Google search box at the top of the site. This is an example of AJAX (new technology that doesn't require the browser to reload). Try it out! Search for anything you want (here's a good one: "Google Rocks"). Notice how the search results appear as a layer over the current page - isn't that cool? What I like about this is that you don't need to worry about the design of the search results pages and you get the power and authority of Google on your site. In addition, with this Web 2.0 technology, you never leave the page you are on so it's a better web experience.

The best news is that it's easy to implement Google Custom Search Engine and it's FREE. Here's what you do:
  • Go to:
  • Click on "Create a custom search engine"
  • Fill out the form fields on the next page (add in any number of sites you may want to index)
  • Within the search results hosting option section, select the new "overlay" option. The drawback for bloggers is that you can't get Adsense but hey, if I was blogging for the money I would have quit long ago.
  • Copy the code and paste it on your site
  • You can customize this but I really didn't do any customization and it looks fine.
There is also a business upgrade for $100 a year. I've set this search engine up for a non-profit site (because I make tons off this blog - heavy sarcasm) which means that no ads will appear in the search results. Businesses will probably want to purchase the business edition as you'll not want ads on your internal search engine (could be competitors). I think it may be the best $100 your company has spent. If you don't have a site search, you're missing out on an opportunity to help web visitors to find information on your web site and better leverage your web and overall marketing investments. The easier it is to find the right information, the better chance at conversions and eventually closed deals. I haven't tested this out but you can probably use Google Analytics to track what people are searching on and additional data. If you have an enterprise site, you may want to look at some of the more feature heavy tools out there like Inquira.

Let me know if you have questions or tried it out.

Chad H

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