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Google recently launched their Google Customized Search Engine, which allows webmasters to easily integrate Google search results into their site while also giving webmasters editorial control to bias the results.

Webmasters can bias the results harnising the power of Topic Sensitive PageRank, tag relevant results, allow editors or users to tag relevant results, and select a seed set of sites to search against or bias the results toward (and sites to remove from the results).

Surely some shifty outfits will use this as a way to show their ranking success, but this also makes me wonder what the net effect on Google's brand will be if people see powered by Google on sites which provide terrible relevancy, or results that are obviously biased toward racism or other horrific parts of humanity. Will searchers learn to trust search less when they start seeing different Google results all over the web? Or will anyone even notice?

Will most people be willing to subscribe to relevancy which reinforces their current worldview?

This release essentially will make Google the default site search on millions of websites, which is great for Google given the volume of site level search. I still think Google's stock is priced ahead of itself trading on momentum and short covering, but this release gives Google a bunch more inventory and further establishes them as the default search platform.

By allowing webmasters to easily integrate results biased toward internal content, backfilling the results with other content when the site does not meet all of a searchers needs, and then allowing the delivery of profitable relevant ads near the content, Google is paying webmasters in numerous highly automated ways that build great value by being layered on top of one another.

I also have to think this is going to further place a dent in the business model of running directories, or other sites with thin content that do not add much editorial value to the subject they talk about. This blend of editorial and algorithms is invariably going to kill off many editorial only listing companies.

As an SEO, I think this customized tool can also be used to help further test the depth and authority of a site relative to others in its group by allowing you to bias the results to multiple similar seed sites and see which pages on those sites that Google promotes most. This could even be used as a tool to help you determine which domain is more valuable in terms of ranking potential if you are comparing a couple domains that you are thinking of buying.

Published: October 24, 2006 by Aaron Wall in google


June 5, 2007 - 6:49am

i think u are talking about the google coup

October 24, 2006 - 9:10am

Aaron, I would think the customized search engine from Google is a reaction to the Yahoo Search Builder.

I can certainly see the use in both since it gives webmasters a chance to provide a custom search option. I'm thinking things like the ability to search all your eBay stores from one location that's not eBay.

It's obviously something that can bias many to your own point of view. If I were to set up an seo search engine on my site it would naturally include my own site as well as the other sites I read and find valuable. That's clearly biasing things as the seaarch would be filtered through my experience and sensibilities.

I'm sure as you say there will be some who will use this to make their own sites seem more visible than they really are, but I think those same people will do something similar regrdless of a tool like the ones provided by Google or Yahoo.

While I see the benefit as a webmaster and seo of having one of these search engines on my site I wonder how much more something like this will fracture our thinking. I suppose we are all going to be naturally biased by where we get our sources of information. I get information here among other sources, while you get your information for your sources, which will naturally influence my thnking.

Maybe that's just how it's supposed to work though since it's all up to us where we choose to get our information and which information to trust and which to look at with skepticism.

Hope I haven't deviated too far from your main point. And by the way nice title.

October 24, 2006 - 9:22am

I have only begun messing around with this new custom search, but I am already loving it. I agree that this can be useful for SEO by allowing more options for testing.

I have heard a lot recently that the future of search is in vertical, subject specific search sites. With the launch of their custom search I think Google solidified thier spot as a leader in vertical search, as many subject specific search sites will be using Google's search engine.

I was just speaking to a friend last week who wanted to launch his own niche search site. We talked for a while about the easiest way to go about creating his site. Now I have an easy solution to give him, use Google's custom search engine.

October 24, 2006 - 1:33pm

Hey Aaron.

Just wanted to say thanks for the free seobook you sent a few years ago.
I wanted to impress you, an an "SEO rock star" by reporting valuable qa shit.
When you asked, "What did you think?" , I "choked" as it felt like a school assignment, so I am now getting back to you.

Very good.



October 24, 2006 - 4:51pm

I find this to be nothing more than connecting the dots to existing components, with a tiny bit of expansion.

Currently, we can already use AdSense for Search to query our own domains. This allows us to query multiple domains, thus building a mini, personalized search engine. For example, in Aarons's case, he can now query accross his multiple domains for users that are trying to find information about his services and such. In addition, you may be the beneficiary of some AdSense revenue, along with Google of course!

And that, of course, is the ultimate bottom line - the revenue for both Google and their affiliates (us!).

As for their stock price, I am a bit more optimistic than Aaron! At $2.62 (which they will not remain flat) for 4 forward looking quarters and a PE of 50 (pretty normal for a hot tech stock), I get 2.62x4x50 = $524/share. I would never sell my shares to begin with - unless the PE got way beyond an acceptable multiple, which for Google I can't even worry about multiples. I worry more about their continuous top-notch line of products and services for us to use!

Thanks for a great topic once again,

October 24, 2006 - 4:55pm


I think that Google doesn't want to miss out on the action that Yahoo! is working on.

I think that it can help to reinforce the standard Google search also. It can be a useful tool for sites that do not have the ability to develop search on their own platform and it keeps their name out there. Both are winners.

I have never placed much trust on search options within a domain for anything other than finding the page(s) on that domain. Call me a pesimist.

Google can offer this to keep and strengthen their market share of search, regardless of the query results.

October 24, 2006 - 5:06pm

The feature set of the Google coop is amazing compared to the Yahoo Builder. Google just made a knockout in the first round of personal search engines.

For an SEO, there will be some value. Only few will take advantage though. I see it all the time. Most SEOs just follow the crowd and never do any of their own R&D. This is what separates an SEO from an SEO Guru.

Oh, and I can hear the MFA, Scrapers, Black Hats, and many more firing up their keyboards this morning.

October 24, 2006 - 5:35pm

Quote: I think that Google doesn't want to miss out on the action that Yahoo! is working on.

right there are also the swickis from eurekster...

I think it's also a new feature for the exsting Coop community search. This way it's more attractive for webmasters (because you can add you adsense code)

October 24, 2006 - 5:48pm

I was so excited when I saw this post today on Aaron's blog. But, I was crushed when I realized that the CSE's are not unique. Meaning anyone can set up a CSE on any topic no matter how many CSE's there already are on that same topic (I.E. Aaron set up his SEO Book CSE, and Google had no problem with allowing me to do the same, see BTW, I am going to delete this CSE later today, I just was trying to make the point :). In my opinion Swicki's are far better, they give you a legible URL and they are unique.

October 24, 2006 - 9:24pm

I think the fact that anyone can do it, and then cobrand it onto their own sites, and then have the relevancy AND search volumes reliant upon the brand strength and core editors makes it far more valuable, not less.

Bill Jones
October 26, 2006 - 3:06pm

In response to Aaron Rosenthal, I think it's a great thing that multiple CSEs can be created on the same topic - it creates competition. If there are two great book CSEs out there, they'll both (in theory) be working hard to make their CSE better than the other one. Then you've got sites like and that keep lists and rankings of the CSEs, so you can compare and use the ones that you like best.

I certainly see this as a positive thing.

December 11, 2006 - 12:03pm

Hi everybody

On google co-op subject.
We created a directory only for google coop cse or websites that have a co-op cse intergrated.

It is available at
Aaaron what do you think about it?

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