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How to Add a Search Engine to Your Site
Copyright Herman Drost 

When visitors arrive at your web site you want them to find
the information quickly otherwise they will lose patience
and move on. A great way achieve this is to add a search
engine or search box to your web site. Since most visitors
are already familiar with using search engines such as
Google, they can easily use the search feature on your

In this article I will discuss:

A. The benefits of adding a search engine
B. Types of search service providers
C. Where to place a search box on your site
D. How does the search engine work

A. Benefits of adding a search engine and types of sites
where it can be used.

1. Ecommerce sites - your ecommerce site usually has many
different types of products so the navigation menu is not
focused enough to rapidly find the specific product your
visitor is looking for. Adding a search engine to your
ecommerce site will help the visitor to easily and quickly
zoom in on the product by entering their keyword in the
search box.

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2. Dynamic sites - search engines have difficulty spidering
dynamically generated web pages. These are pages often
generated from a database, so the information on your pages
will not appear in the search engine's index. Add a search
engine to each page of your site. If a visitor arrives on
that page from one of the large search engines, they can
then do a quick search from that page instead of searching

3. Small sites - web sites that contain 5-10 pages don't
need a search engine because visitors don't have to search
through many pages to find the information. Instead, make
sure you create a simple navigation menu at the top or side
and bottom of your web pages.

B. Types of search service providers

1. Atomz ( - Atomz Express Search is a free
service where you can integrate basic search capability on
your personal web site or on one of your commercial sites.
It can be used on sites with 750 total pages or less and
allows customization of look and feel to match your site's
design. Some third-party text ads are shown above and below
the search results. You can use it for as long as you like
for there is no trial period.

2. Freefind ( - features include the
ability to customize search and results pages. The free
accounts are limited to 3,000 pages or 32MB of storage.
Site search is hosted on FreeFind's server. It generates a
site map for you, tracks visitors searches and indexes
password protected pages.

3. Google Free site search service
( - searches only the
specific domain(s) that you list when you create your
search box. You can customize your results display to
include background, text and link colors you select. The
search box itself will reside on your web site. The search
results page will be served by Google with the customized
look and feel you specify. Google may serve ads on the
results page. You can do an unlimited amount of searches.
You must display the Google logo on the web pages that
contain the search box.

C. Where to place the search engine on your site?

1. Place the search box in a prominent location on your web
page...preferably top center or top right.

2. Place the search box on all pages of your web site.
Visitors may enter your site from any page.

3. Make the search box large enough to accommodate all
search terms the visitor would use to find the information.

4. The search box should be a type-in box, not a link so
visitors don't have to wait for another page to load.

5. Limit the search results to 50 per page. Visitors
lose their patience if they have to scroll through long
lists of results.

D. How does the search engine work?

It works similar to the major search engines that search
the web, however instead of crawling the web they search
engine spider will search your site. The results of the
crawl are stored in a database that resides on the search
company's server.

The company provides the necessary code to add a simple
form to your web page. This usually consists of a search
box for inserting your keywords and a send button. When you
click the button it sends the query to the search company.
They process the query to create a search results page.
This shows those pages in your site that match the
visitor's query.

The quality of the search results the search engine spider
collects depends on how much information is contained in
your site. Therefore take time to correctly optimize your
site i.e. provide lots of good content that includes your
keywords. Optimize your meta tags, images and create an
accessible navigation structure.

Optimizing your site will not only provide focused results
from your internal search engine but also boost your
rankings in the major search engines.
Herman Drost is a Certified Internet Webmaster (CIW)
and owner of
Web Site Design, Web Hosting, Web Site Promotion

Author of “Marketing Tips” newsletter. To subscribe, send an email to: and place "Subscribe me please" in the subject line.    (240) 334-3271

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