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Google Custom Search

By Heshy Friedman

custom-search-logoI recently had a client who needed to have the PDF’s on his website searchable. I know that a Google Search produces results in PDF files on the web, so I figured Google Custom Search (GSC), which works in the same engine as a general Google search, would be the best option.

GSC is a search tool from Google that allows you to place a search box on your website. It will search the contents of your site and display the results on a page. While there are many website search scripts, the Google search engine is very powerful and has neat features like auto fill and auto correct already built in. It is also very easy to integrate. The colors and other customized fields can be set up by the configuration tools on the GSC website, generating code that can be placed on your website where you want the search to appear.

I did some research regarding searching PDF’s, and indeed GSC does search through PDF files that it indexes on a website. Although I did find some other search scripts that search through PDF’s on a website, GSC seemed to be the easiest option to integrate. GSC can be set up and configured with any Google account.

GSC comes with a free version and a paid version. The free version works just as well as the paid version, but it forces the display of Google Adsense advertisements. The paid version costs $100 per year for most websites, and removes the ads. If your site has over 20,000 search queries, which is a very high volume, then the price increases. At the $100 per year price, it’s a reasonable cost, and the recommended method for searching websites internally. This is especially so if you want to have your website PDF files searchable.

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