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Google’s discontinuing site search.

A Google spokesperson confirmed that past April 1, 2018, or when current paid ‘Site Search’ accounts reach their quota end, Google will move all Site Search customers to free Custom Search Engine (CSE) accounts.

Site Search and CSE are sister services that allow website owners to use Google’s very own search technology to power search features for their sites. As an example, Bleeping Computer uses CSE for its search results.

Because the services, Site Search and CSE, are very similar, the transition from Site Search to CSE will be seamless.

The Problem

Site Search showed only search results from the local site, while CSE inserts Google ads between your search results.

It might not sound significant, but the result could be disastrous for businesses that have worked hard to gain search rankings.

The Solution

Well, we’re going to need options. Fortunately, there’s an expert who really knows his stuff – Ian Lurie, from Portent.  According to Ian, there are a range of solutions that can help tip the scales back in your favour. Extracted from the original article: Don’t Panic: Google Site Search Replacements

Amazon Web Services CloudSearch

Amazon Web Services CloudSearch. Like a lot of AWS services, I find setting it up slightly easier than stuffing myself through a keyhole.

For example, if you’re using it for onsite search, you’ll have to set up a crawler to deliver site content to the search engine. Or, you can upload manually. Eesh. But I’m not a developer. This kind of gadgetry may be trivial if you’re more of a code geek than I.

They charge based on use. A small engine costs about $500 per year, max. It has a lot more options than Google, too.

If you’ve got the nerd-fu, go for it.


AddSearch is a nifty option. A small search engine (up to 1200 pages) costs $269 per year.

AddSearch automatically re-crawls your site. It doesn’t show ads. It has some nifty gadgets like social search integration. It’s an easy setup—no harder than Google, in my experience.

I messed with the free trial a long time ago. I couldn’t make it blow up. It supports SSL (assume that for any available search engine).

Thumbs up.


I haven’t yet used Swiftype. Mostly because the smallest version costs $299/month. Cough.

But it looks like a powerhouse: Spell check, API, field weighting, geographic targeting, sorting, bigrams… (insert more nerdy stuff here).

Note that the basic $299/month version doesn’t include some of the cooler features. Still, it’s pretty kick-ass. If you have a big site and need an enterprise option, consider shelling out the cash.

Remember that Google Custom Search was a ridiculous bargain with some arse-kicking limitations. $299/month seems like a lot. But read the docs and use the trial before you rule out Swiftype.

If you’ve used Swiftype, please leave a comment.


Cludo is another one I haven’t tried. They’re mum on pricing, which tells me they’re probably pricey. I talked to a few developers, though, and they seemed happy with it (they didn’t know what their companies paid). Cludo offers a lot of the same features as Swiftype. I’d include them in your research list when you look for options.

Cludo published pricing here. Their starting package is similar to Swifttype: $299.


I tried Algolia over the weekend. On WordPress, it was a super-easy setup: Install plugin and go. It costs $49/month with a free trial to start. It can also accept a JSON feed of search records. I haven’t delved that deep, but I’d say thumbs up.

Apache Solr

I love Solr. It’s free. It’s faster than money at a casino (I have no idea what that means). For me, it’s slightly easier than setting up AWS CloudSearch. And it includes a crawler.

It runs on your server. That’s part of why it’s so freaking fast. But that also means you have to have access to your server.

Some hosts provide Solr. Do a quick Google search. I don’t want to play favourites, and I haven’t used any.

Did I mention it’s free?

Platform-Specific Options and Other Geekery

WordPress has a built-in search tool. Forget it.

Django has a built-in tool I haven’t used. Drupal’s search module works a little better than guessing.

Hosting providers often have their own. Use with caution.

Source: Ian Lurie of Portent

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