The Retirement of Google Site Search: 13 Tips for Small Businesseshttp://0.gravatar.com/avatar/?s=96&d=mm&r=g
The Retirement of Google Site Search: 13 Tips for Small Businesses
Google has announced the facing out of site search – a paid option that lets sites utilize Google’s top shelf search tech. New licenses for the service will no longer be issued, and those already in effect will run for their specified durations. Thus, come early 2018, Google site search will be a thing of the past. As with any change, adaptation is the only way to survive and thrive, and the 13 tips below will help any small business in the online space do just that.
Do not panic
If your business has a Google site search (GSS) license in effect, not only will Google honor the license till it expires, but the search engine giant will also provide both customer and technical support.
Therefore, as per your license duration, there may be time to consider other options – the best of which will be discussed later. When your license expires, the account will be automatically placed into the free custom search category.
Hire an expert
Unless you are a developer, going forward, you will need the services of an experienced professional who is in touch with industry developments. It is a classic case of delegation of duty so that everyone can focus on what they do best. The good news is that such professionals are in abundance at very affordable rates.
Identify a contact person
If hiring an in-house expert is too expensive, then, identify a contact person who can help when you get into technical trouble. Custom search does not come with customer support through both email or the phone.
Tweak search results to your benefit
One of the ways to leverage custom search is to promote specific URLs in in-site searches to drive traffic to pages likely to lead to conversions. In other words, you will get more control over the results served, and you can tweak them to work for you. However, seamless site branding will be compromised as Google’s branding will make it clear that the search is powered by Google.
Start a side venture
By incorporating AdSense for search, you can start a side venture and make extra income. As you might expect, in-site user experience will take a slight hit, but the additional revenue may compensate adequately.
Manage search engine content
Custom search avails the power to specify the resources to include or exclude in a search. Thus, you can improve both the scope and quality of served results and ensure relevance. You can also set up Google to automatically index and crawl any new or updated pages.
Enhance user experience
Custom search has several tools useful in fine tuning search. It allows for categorizations and search by category, synonyms search, spelling mistake correction, etc. Autocomplete is also available. However, you will have to put in the work. To make sure that searches for monkey and ape yield similar results, for instance, you have to effect the necessary changes
Theme your engine
To achieve consistency across the board, theme your custom engine to be congruent with the site. It will ensure a smoother user experience without significant branding lapses. You can include custom logos, colors schemes, etc. Of course, be careful not to go overboard and remember that simplicity and elegance are two sides of the same coin.
Add and manage user permissions
A nifty custom search feature, you can add users to manage search content, add campaigns, and make alterations. You can keep tabs on and approve changes as the overall manager as well as manage permissions to minimize risks of calamitous changes. Added users, for instance, cannot access the make money tab.
Steal your competitor’s clients
Another significant advantage of custom search is that you can get ads to show on competitor platforms thereby undercutting them and taking their customers. All you have to do is to turn on ad spend for the search partner network.
If you take this route, keep in mind that your competitors will also be able to show ads on your site and it, therefore, boils down to survival for the fittest.
Since custom search is free, you can perform all manner of tests to know what works for you. For instance, you can turn on search partners for a few months and monitor conversion impact. Then, turn it off and compare stats to know whether it is ideal or not.
Opt for cloud search
Cloud search solutions are an excellent alternative to GSS if you feel that custom search is not for you. It comes as part of the Gsuite package which includes Gmail, Docs, Sheets, Calendar, Hangouts, etc. In a nutshell, it is a comprehensive business package from Google formulated to meet the needs of a thriving enterprise.
The SaaS alternative
If you wish to maintain the GSS experience as much as possible, then, Software as a Service solutions are the perfect answer. They extensively resemble GSS, and many trusted third parties offer top-notch services. Choice will depend on preference, budget, and functionality.
The retiring of Google site search is not a bad thing in itself only that it will shake things up and enhance competition. Also, the fact that there are other alternatives means that you do not have to stick with custom search if it does not serve you well. Since custom search is free, first try it out and opt for paid option if you find it ineffective.