Google Site Search is sunsetting 🌇
As you likely know by now, Google has discontinued the sale/renewal of their Google Site Search (GSS) product. On April 1, 2018 the product will be completely shut down. Since your website will (hopefully) not also be shutting down, it’s about time to replace your GSS with another site search solution.
What about Google Custom Search as a replacement?
Google plans to keep their Custom Search (CSE) product running so you may be thinking of switching over to that solution. What’s great about CSE is that it’s free. What’s not so great is that ads will show up in the search results and you have little control over the UI. In addition, you will face query limits if your website gets serious traffic and your new content will take a while to be indexed for search.
As Search Engine Land stated in their article covering the sunsetting of GSS, “Google Custom Search is a great solution for small blogs, and maybe even local businesses, but if you’re already scaling on a large level — or plan on advertising at state, country or global level — Google Custom Search will not fit all of your needs.”
How Swiftype Site Search stacks up against GSS
If Google Custom Search doesn’t meet the search needs of your business, then you can easily switch over from GSS to Swiftype Site Search. Swiftype matches GSS’s ease of use, but it offers a far richer feature set, including the ability to customize your search results at a granular level. With the ability to completely control what content is included in your search engine and how it is ranked for search, you can utilize Swiftype to drive visitors to high-value content and impact your bottom line.
Here are some of the powerful features of Swiftype:
Indexing control — Swiftype gives you full control over when your content is visited by our web crawler so your search engine stays up-to-date. With Swiftype you can, on-demand, have us recrawl your entire site, a single URL, or you can just login to our dashboard and delete/edit a page manually.
Customize how Swiftype crawls your content — By default, Swiftype will crawl your entire website (up to page limit of your plan), but we make it easy to exclude or include portions of your site as well as individual web pages. To include/exclude portions of your site, you can use the Swiftype dashboard to whitelist/blacklist certain URLs or set up rules in your robots.txt file. To customize what data from each of your individual web pages is included in your search engine, you can utilize meta tags and body-embedded data attribute tags.
Ranking customization — By default we rank your search results intelligently, but in the end we believe it’s your website, so you should have the final say. We let you add to, remove from, and fully re-order the search results for any keyword on your site, all through our web-based dashboard. You can also adjust the weights placed on your data fields and create synonyms which are groups of terms that are treated equally for the purposes of search (car = vehicle).
Analytics — We offer a built-in suite of search analytics in our dashboard. These analytics range from simple (e.g. graphing the trend of total searches per day over time), to the more interesting (e.g. “Most popular searches with zero results”). These analytics are collected by default and in real-time, with no additional work needed on your end, and our algorithms use them to automatically improve your search results over time.
→ Are you a Google Analytics aficionado? Swiftype offers a Google Analytics integration.
Developer-friendly — Swiftype was designed to be easy to start using, but customizable enough to accommodate the wide variety of Site Search implementations you see on the web. To that end we offer a powerful API and client libraries in many popular languages including Ruby, Python, Node.js, jQuery, Java, iOS, and Android.
→ For an in-depth view of how Swiftype stacks up against GSS and Custom Search, check out this comparison chart.
How to migrate from GSS to Swiftype Site Search in 4 simple steps
Are you convinced that Swiftype is the next site search solution for you? Here’s how you can get set up. And no, we didn’t forget any steps; it’s really this easy!
- Create a Swiftype account — We offer a 14-day free trial so you can really get a feel for Swiftype before committing to anything.
- Index your data — As we mentioned in the features overview section, it’s really easy to get your data into your Swiftype search engine. We offer a customizable web-based crawler as well as an extensively documented API for indexing your data. If you’d like some help on getting set up, we offer special GSS migration assistance. You can sign up here.
- Customize your search results — Swiftype enables you to customize search results on a query-by-query basis, adjust the weights placed on your data types and create synonym groups. For full programmatic control of your search engine’s relevancy, you can leverage the Swiftype API.
- Implement your search UI — Last but certainly not least, you will need to add your new search engine to your website. If you indexed your content using the web crawler, you can simply copy and paste the code given to you in the Swiftype dashboard into your website source code. If you’d like to customize your search UI’s appearance, you can configure the layout and color of your search bar and results directly from the dashboard. For full customization of your search UI, you can use the Swiftype search and autocomplete JQuery libraries.
Ready, set, migrate!
After hearing more about Swiftype’s features and ease of use, are you ready to migrate over? We’ve already helped many organizations including NYU Libraries and the City of Portland switch from GSS to Swiftype. We are happy to provide you with migration assistance so that you can have a quick and easy migration from GSS to Swiftype.