SEM / Media

The Retirement of Google Site Search: An Advertiser’s Survival Guide

From Wordstream Blog Feed
April 14, 2017 - 9:42am
If you’re one of the thousands of sites using Google Site Search (GSS), you may have heard that Google is retiring the product later this year, and you’re likely wondering what’s happening to your in-site search tool. Short answer: it’s being replaced with Custom Search Engine (CSE), and you’re being opted into the new tool come April 1, 2018. This change has sparked the attention of the SEO and SEM communities alike, and there are definite pros and cons to this change for both sites and advertisers. The Old Google Site Search In-site search purely organic Currently, sites can pay $100 a month to have a white-labeled in-site search function that allows users to search for content within their domain. No ads are served in these results and users have no idea Google is behind the search function of their favorite sites. Additionally, advertisers who opt to advertise on the search partner network give up the ability to select specific placements, because they know the search partner network consists of a well curated network of content providers who opt into hosting Google search results. What’s coming soon In-site search will include ads In the future, sites will no longer have the freedom to pay $100 per month for ad-free site search powered by Google. If they wish to continue using the Google solution, they will have an “ad-powered” in-site tool, that is branded by Google. The search partner network will now represent a mixture of ecommerce and content oriented sites. Picking specific placements is still not available in AdWords (in Bing you’ve always been able to bid up, or exclude placements). This is a pretty big deal – site owners are going to have to choose between a search experience that could drive users off their site via ads, or migrating to a new site search solution. There are pros and cons to both options, and advertisers need to pay attention so they know how to engage with Search Partner Network. Staying with Google’s Custom Search Engine – The Pros One of the biggest advantages to staying with CSE is how easy it is to use. CSE is designed to be a seamless way for websites to serve up content. It also clocks in at the very affordable “free” price. As an advertiser, there’s a delicious victory in appearing on a competitor’s site and stealing away their traffic as the consumer was attempting to search for a prod


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