Site Search After Google Custom Search

Google announced about a year ago that they were dropping the paid custom site search functionality, meaning any existing users of custom search were going to start having ads show in their site's search results this year.

On April 1st, 2017, Google will discontinue the sales of Google Site Search, the paid version of Custom Search Engine. All new purchases and renewals must take place before this date. This product will be completely shut down by April 1st, 2018. This note does not affect Custom Search Engine.
— Google CSE's homepage
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Paid Google Custom Search Engine is going away.

Sites using it will soon start displaying ads in their results.

Most site's are hitting the end of their ad free Google search right now. Meaning website owners are getting a notice that looks pretty scary - stating that Google's paid custom search engine is expiring and sites will start displaying ads.

We have a lot of clients and many on HubSpot which doesn't have a native search functionality(yet). Our HubSpot clients mostly used Google search, it was inexpensive, and high quality. Now though that Google made their change to drop the paid search our clients have requested an alternative.

We spent months researching the best solutions for our clients and came across one that we like quite a bit, and have already converted most of our Google Search solutions on those sites to use.

We've decided to use SiteSearch360 for most of our sites. The pricing is very competitive, the service doesn't rely on having server side access to the site(a problem for HubSpot sites) and it's very flexible and easy to set up.

The best part in our eyes - We're able to keep most of the old Google search code in there, and layer SiteSearch360 on top. Why? Well one of the advantages to this approach is we can keep the same search form, and what will happen is, if a user submits a query and for whatever reason SiteSearch360 ever has an error and fails, the Google search will kick in and provide results.

Yes the Google Search will have ads if it ever triggers, but that is way better than a search form that doesn't function at all. So far we've found SiteSearch360 to be very stable so we're not worried about needing to do this, it just means we don't have to remove most of the google code, and we get the added benefit of a fallback just in case.

Site Search 360 gives us the flexibility to add instant search suggestions and more interactive result listings.


Feature-wise SiteSearch360 provides a lot of modern functionality like instant search suggestions and javascript based ajaxy results, allowing us to keep the user on the page and display results in say a modal speeding up the user's navigation around the site, and keeping them engaged.