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Google™ Search Recommendations

<<return to webmaster.idaho.gov

We are currently recommending Google Custom Search Engine. It is free, the ads can be removed if you are a state government entity, and it works well.

Create a CSE Account

  1. Go to http://www.google.com/cse/

  2. Choose “Create a Custom Search Engine”

  3. If your agency has a Google account, sign in.

    If not, create an account. If possible, use an email address that another employee in your position could use, such as: webmaster@agency.idaho.gov

  4. Name example: Your Agency Search Engine

    Description example: Ensuring safe agency topic and licensing agency topics in Idaho

  5. Sites: agency.idaho.gov (If you have other domains, list those too. Example: subtopic.idaho.gov)

  6. Choose the standard edition. (We will take ads off in a few more steps.)

Color / Test

The next step is called “Try it Out”.

We recommend the default or Minimalist style. (Espresso may be work nicely if you are using the Stanley palette.)

Use the test search with some keywords that are appropriate for your site.

Code for your site

The next page gives you code for your site. This code generates the search box. The results will appear below it.

  1. You will want to paste this into a empty template for your site in the content area. Use a one-column page (unless you would like side navigation (two column) or some help-type links on the right (three column)).

    Save this file as search.html in the same place as your homepage file (index.html). Change the h2 to say Search Our Site.

  2. You must make this adjustment (to accommodate visitors with javascript disabled):
    Add a line a code. (This will be inserted below the first line.) See link for the new addition.
    Get the code.

  3. A preference: I feel the page looks better with the search box width decreased. I decrease the width on the first line to 80%.

Adjustments - Remove Ads

  1. From the code page, click on the "Look and feel" link in the first sentence.

  2. You are now in the Control Panel.

  3. Choose "Business Account" and the second option, "Do not show ads on results pages."

Also in Control Panel

If you have time, you may want to use the following also:

  • Promotions - "promote" a certain page as the best match for a particular query.

  • Synonyms - if other state's use another word for a key service you offer, match that word to the word used in your agency.

  • Autocompletions - this attempts to predict the user's query based on what they have typed so far.

Adding a Search Button to your Site

To make the search live, you will need three things.

  1. The search.html page you created earlier.

  2. To place a search button in your header. Place a the indicated html from google.txt after your header logo. (Remove any old google search boxes.)

  3. Place the indicated css from google.txt in your custom css.

More Information - Google Resources

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