Add Google Custom Search to WordPress Blogs
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Everyone knows that the default WordPress search is NOT the best search result provider for WordPress. Fortunately, there are other alternatives. This article will show you how to use Google Custom Search to give your visitors a better experience when they search for blog posts on your site.
Here are some reasons you may not want to use the default WordPress search function.
1. It does not rank results in terms of relevance.
2. It does rank based on date; however, most users are not interested in seeing post results by date. They also need the results to be relevant and in-depth.
3. In some instances, if you are using an outdated WordPress version, using a default WordPress search increases your chance of falling victim to a hacking attack.
One of the best solutions involves using the Google Custom Search Engine (http://www.google.com/cse/) and integrating it into your WordPress blog. Choosing to do this will provide you with a number of benefits.
First, instead of using the WordPress search, you are using Google's search engine algorithms to power your search. This means your users will receive more relevant and direct to the point search results. For example, if I search for the term "Base 64 encoding PHP" in my own blog, it directly provides the most relevant search result:
The good thing is that the search results are displayed right in my WordPress blog and NOT in the Google domain.
Another advantage is that these Google custom searches include Google ads in the result, which can help to further monetize your content. For example, see the screen shot above; the search result has Google ads in it.
Finally, it is relatively straightforward to integrate Google Custom Search into your blog as its search provider, and this tutorial will cover all of the steps involved. Integration will ensure that the search result will have the same look and feel as your present WordPress theme/template.
The traditional way of integrating third party applications using WordPress involves a plug-in; however using plug-ins can be troublesome, especially if they are broken or incompatible with your present version: http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/google-custom-search-for-wordpress/. The most effective, and indeed, only way to integrate Google Custom Search Engine is without using a plug-in. This can be done with minor tweaks in your existing WordPress template code.
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