Website owners are about to get the chance to bend Google’s legendary search algorithm to their will. The search giant already offers a product called Google Custom Search to enable searches for individual sites, but it’s launching a much more customizable version of the service, and giving it a much better name — Google Site Search.
Thousands of sites are already using Google’s hosted search solution (distinct from the Google Mini Search Appliance), but Lead Product Manager Nitin Mangtani says that until now, they had to just run the ranking that Google provided. Site Search, however, will allow those businesses to tailor those results to their needs. Now a site owner can create their own synonyms to make searching easier (so a search for “fb” could bring up pages about Facebook, for example), specify how results should be prioritized based on date and identify certain kinds of pages (say, product catalog pages) that should be at the top of the search results. Overall, these changes mean site owners will have a lot more control over search results, and thus over how users navigate their sites.
On the back end, this means Google is actually building a completely separate search index for its site search customers, one that will allow all this customization without affecting the search results at Google.com.
Even as it branches out into pretty much every corner of web and mobile products, it’s good to see Google that continues to improve the search technology that it built its name on. Although these customization options hardly give a site owner carte blanche to tinker with their results — and they shouldn’t — Google Site Search should be mighty tempting to business owners who wanted Google search on their websites, but needed something they could tailor to their needs. (That’s a group that includes VentureBeat, by the way.)
Google Site Search is available for the same price as the business edition of Google Custom Search, starting at $100 per year for indexing up to 5,000 web pages.