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Google site search for $100 a year

I have been travelling so it took me a little while to write about Google Custom Search Business Edition. The name is a mouthful (sounds like the name of one of IBM’s products) but the price won’t give you indigestion—just $100 annually for up to 5,000 pages. So what should a Web site owner think about this offering?


Before I give you my opinion, remember that I work for a competing product, IBM’s OmniFind search engine. So take my views with a pillar of salt. But here goes, anyway.
For small sites with limited technical skills, it seems worthwhile. You can set up the colors of the interface to match your Web site with no programming experience, and you just need to know enough to drop a snippet of code in the right place on your Web page. There’s no server to set up, so even sites with shared hosting can play. There are also free choices, such as Rollyo, that do a good job, but with less control over the appearance.
If you have some technical skills, however, there may be better choices. Even those folks saddled with shared servers can use a free Yahoo! API to give themselves a hosted site search. It’s worth remembering the drawbacks of a hosted search service, however. You can’t ensure that all of your pages will be spidered and you can’t ensure they will be spidered quickly as they change.
If you follow the tips in our book and in the Skinflint’s Guide to Search Marketing, you can ensure that most, if not all of your pages are spidered into that search index. And you can use Sitemaps to give yourself some control over how frequently the spider visits. It’s not the same as having your own search engine, though. If you want more control, you probably need to go a step further.
If you have dedicated hosting or own your own server, you can consider IBM’s OmniFind Yahoo! Edition, a free search engine (plug, plug). You must be savvy enough to be able to administer a server, but if you can, you get a free search engine that you have total control over. And it tops out at 500,000 pages, not 5,000 (or $500 a year for up to 50,000 pages from Google).
Google’s new offering seems valuable for those with small sites and no technical skills. Site search keeps getting easier and cheaper for site owners—what’s your site search like?

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Mike Moran

Mike Moran is an expert in digital marketing, search technology, social media, text analytics, web personalization, and web metrics, who, as a Certified Speaking Professional, regularly makes speaking appearances. Mike’s previous appearances include keynote speaking appearances worldwide. Mike serves as a senior strategist for Converseon, an AI powered consumer intelligence technology and consulting firm. He is also a senior strategist for SoloSegment, a marketing automation software solutions and services firm. Mike also serves as a member of the Board of Directors of SEMPO. Mike spent 30 years at IBM, rising to Distinguished Engineer, an executive-level technical position. Mike held various roles in his IBM career, including eight years at IBM’s customer-facing website, ibm.com, most recently as the Manager of ibm.com Web Experience, where he led 65 information architects, web designers, webmasters, programmers, and technical architects around the world. Mike's newest book is Outside-In Marketing with world-renowned author James Mathewson. He is co-author of the best-selling Search Engine Marketing, Inc. (with fellow search marketing expert Bill Hunt), now in its Third Edition. Mike is also the author of the acclaimed internet marketing book, Do It Wrong Quickly: How the Web Changes the Old Marketing Rules, named one of best business books of 2007 by the Miami Herald. Mike founded and writes for Biznology® and writes regularly for other blogs. In addition to Mike’s broad technical background, he holds an Advanced Certificate in Market Management Practice from the Royal UK Charter Institute of Marketing and is a Visiting Lecturer at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business. He also teaches at Rutgers Business School. He is a Senior Fellow at the Society for New Communications Research. Mike worked at ibm.com from 1998 through 2006, pioneering IBM’s successful search marketing program. IBM’s website of over two million pages was a classic “big company” website that has traditionally been difficult to optimize for search marketing. Mike, working with Bill Hunt, developed a strategy for search engine marketing that works for any business, large or small. Moran and Hunt spearheaded IBM’s content improvement that has resulted in dramatic gains in traffic from Google and other internet portals.

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