What can we do now that Google Site Search is disappearing? Here you have the answer

In February 2017, Google announced that their paid-for search engine for websites, Google Site Search, would be disappearing shortly.
In order to allow for all the websites on which the site search was installed to look for an alternative, they set a final migration date one year from then—that date is April 1, 2018.
If, as everyone usually does, you left it to the last minute and you still haven’t thought about what you are going to do, keep reading.
You won’t only find an alternative; you will also learn how to gain more traffic and sales thanks to this tool.
Note: If you don’t have time to read—Try Doofinder for free.

Google Site Search will say goodbye in April 2018

This is how Google announced their plans to shut down the search engine that may be integrated in your website:
Google has discontinued sale/renewal of the Google Site Search since Apr 1 2017. The product will be completely shut down by April 1, 2018. We will provide customer and technical support through the duration of license agreements. In addition, for GSS users whose contract expires between April 1st and June 30th, 2017, we are providing a free 3-month extension with additional query volume to allow more time for them to implement the necessary changes to their site.
If you are one of those who use Google Site Search, you know you now need to look for a solution (and the sooner, the better).
Google’s decision to shut down Site Search leaves users with two alternatives:

  • Move to the free version with ads: Custom Search.
  • Go pro by using a quality tool: with a very low investment compared to the results you get.

Let’s see what the free version can offer and what the advantages of a professional tool are.

Differences between Google Site Search and Custom Search Engine

Google had two very similar products that had always created misunderstanding among their users.

  • Google Custom Search: a basic tool to add a search engine to your website. It is free and it doesn’t allow any personal changes, and it also obligates you to include ads.
  • Google Site Search: it is the paid version of the tool above and it is the one that Google is shutting down.

Actually, the options available with the free search engine are… few and far between.
And this is what leads us to our next question: is it worth investing in a professional search engine like Doofinder?
Let’s talk.

Why Doofinder is the perfect alternative to Google’s search engine

Since Site Search was born in 2006 up to now, the way we surf the net has changed.
The trend of offering information as personalized as possible has not only reached Google, but rather it has made its way into all the websites that want to offer a good user experience.
Professional internal search engines such as Doofinder think about the searching process as a conversation, not just as a box that returns a cold list.
And that is a huge advantage for more aspects than you can think of.

1. More sales

Easy and clear—when you offer a good service, you sell more.
The difference between good and bad sales service is pretty clear when talking about physical shops.
In addition to the design, copywriting, and usability, the internal search engine also guides the e-commerce sales team.

The Doofinder search engine is not a “machine” that returns information; it is a smart tool that answers and adapts itself to different users’ intentions.

It doesn’t just answer in a personalized way; it also helps, guides, and offers up the most interesting alternatives.
Here are some of its features (non exhaustive list) :

  • Shows the results “as-you-type”: while typing what they are looking for, the user is offered product results.
  • Synonyms: Imagine your search engine telling your customer that you don’t have baby chairs because you have listed them as “baby seats”. With Doofinder, you can add different ways of naming the same product, so that this misfortune doesn’t happen to your customers.
  • Banners: when your customer is looking for a product, why not take the opportunity to tell them that you have an offer? They will certainly click on it and be much more convinced. 😉

In other word, the search engine behaves like the ideal salesman that every business dreams of.
And, in addition, it doesn’t go on holidays or breaks, and it maintains its productivity levels 24/7.
You sell more because you offer a better service.

2. Better SEO

The algorithm used by Google takes three main factors into account regarding positioning:

  • The quality and quantity of incoming links.
  • The quality of the website content.
  • The user experience of those surfing the website.

Google’s aim, in the long run, is that this third factor gains traction against links and content.
And how can Google know which websites are the user favorites and which offer the best UX?
Imagine that when surfing the net you do something like this:
You go to shop A and leave after 10 seconds. Right afterwards, you go to shop B, you look for different products, read a couple of posts, and end up making a purchase.
Which one do you think gives the impression that you liked it more or that it offered a better user experience?
B, right?
More and more, this is what Google is going to reward you for.
It is natural SEO development, and the Doofinder search engine helps to improve that user experience that boosts positioning.

  • Lower bounce rate: when you offer users the option of searching, they search. And this means at least one more page visited, which decreases your bounce rate.
  • More pages visited: always having the option of searching is like having a salesman that’s always available. People search more and surf more.
  • Longer average session time: more pages visited implies more minutes in your shop, and that is a very good signal for Google.

All those indicators let Google know that our website is attractive for users, so how does it reward us?
By sending us more people. And that makes us happy.
The story is quite clear:

Happy User -> Happy Google -> Happy Us

Are you still lacking an SEO strategy for your e-commerce? Click here to fix that.

3. Better navigation

The comparison with a physical shop is always good to show us what an e-commerce must be like.
Imagine that you go into a shoe shop and ask about men’s shoes. The shop assistant then prints a 4-page list with all of the references that they have in the shop and without sorting them by size or asking you a single question.
And there you are with your list.
That would be crazy and the shop assistant would be fired that same day.
In terms of navigability and user experience, the shoe shop would be a zero.
However, if that person is not only able to instantly offer the shoes that fit the client, but he is also able to offer the user other options… well, that changes everything.
Google Site Search used to be like the first shoe shop.
The free version offered by Google, Custom Search Engine, is even worse.
It not only shows you the list with all the shoes, but it also does it by inserting ads about the hotel you looked for several days ago between list items.
You can draw your own conclusions on that one.

4. Better results

Another definitive difference that makes Doofinder the ideal alternative to GSS is that it allows you to choose which pages your users see first.
With Site Search, Google would use the same criteria that it did for the SERP (search engine results page) in order to determine the relevance of the different URLs from the same site.
In addition, in order for the search engine to show new content, you have to wait for them to be indexed. If you are not good at Search Console or you don’t know how to speed up the indexing process, you may have noticed that they take days to show up.
With Doofinder, results are updated immediately and you can, and must, prioritize some before others.
You can manage them as you see fit:

  • Those with a higher conversion rate.
  • Those that generate more income.
  • Those with a higher profit margin.
  • Those that you want to show at a specific moment.

Basically, you can personalize every detail so that the products shown first are those that you want to be shown.
You are the one who best knows your products and your users’ interests. Google knows a lot about a lot of things—too much, in fact—but it cannot reach that level.
Don’t put a task like that involving your potential clients in the hands of a total stranger!
5. Better integration
What’s the point of working on your brand image if you are going to add a box with Google’s logo that destroys the whole design?
“Powered by Google” is every designer’s nightmare.
We’re sorry to say it, but the Google search engine box breaks the website design and diminishes your brand’s professionalism.
With Doofinder you won’t have this problem … and you only need 5 minutes to install it on your website.

6. Other functions

Here are some other features of the search engine that will certainly interest you:

  • It is available in 30 languages
  • It allows geolocated searches to be made
  • Searches can be analyzed from the control panel.
  • It is adapted to any type of website, whatever the platform.
  • We have plugins available for the most common e-commerce CMSs.

However, in spite of everything we have just mentioned, it is possible that you may ask yourself this question…

“What if I don’t have an e-commerce?”

A far-reaching belief within the online world is that a search engine is only important if you have an online shop.
Let’s shed some truth on that.

  • User attention spans are going down: and their rush to get information is rising. That is a fact for e-commerce, blogs, newspapers, directories, or whatever you may have.
  • There will always be pages that you want users to visit more: especially if after checking your metrics you find out that people who convert always follow the same navigation patterns.
  • Competitors are just one click away: and if your information is not clear and accessible—if they don’t see a search box—visitors will click the feared “back” button.
  • A search engine organizes your chaos: if a website has hundreds of articles, categories, and products, a search engine like Doofinder saves you the job of organizing it all.

It doesn’t matter if you have a blog, a corporate website, or an informational website; whatever site you may have, user experience will always improve with a professional search engine.
And, as we saw before, that means more traffic and more sales.

Don’t you believe us? Try Doofinder free for 30 days!

As we like to say, “there’s nothing better than testing it yourself”.
>> Try Doofinder completely free for 30 days and check metrics to verify what we have just told you.
And you can tell us about it later. 😉