Thursday, November 13, 2008
Today, Google releases a new update to its increasingly popular Site Search product. I had the chance to speak with Nitin Mangtani, Lead Product Manager for Enterprise Search at the company, about Google Site Search's growing momentum.
Along with its popular search appliances, Google's "cloud-based" site search solution is gaining momentum. New pricing and features seem to eliminate some previous objections to using what was already a powerful service.
Clearly a search focused company will have a leg up in providing comprehensive indexing of your pages, and fast, relevant results for queries. But what else does Google bring to the table?
Customization is key. Today, companies using the increasingly inexpensive product (it starts at $100) can choose their own "look and feel" if they so choose, and yes, you can remove the Powered by Google logo treatment with no penalty -- it's up to you.
Ranking customization and layout options are more extensive than you might realize. Site owners can feature certain types of content; they can add specific weightings for valued attributes such as freshness; and much more. I'm uncertain how far you could really take this for a site requiring full customization, though: a movie review site that wanted its own look and feel across the board would probably still feel constrained by the Googliness of this particular search solution. But the product shines for many information-rich corporate sites, and ecommerce sites seeking to connect customers with products no matter what the query.
Because Google is ahead of many competitors on things like misspellings and synonyms, it's also a bonus to have these features included in Google Site Search. Site owners can customize synonym lists as well; it seems like that is standard fare for site search today.
I asked Nitin specifically if "smart" algorithm ranking factors like clickstream and behavioral data would be used to bubble relevant results to the top. By all means, the advantages of Google's proprietary technology are brought to bear on every query, was his answer. But here is where some customers might get uneasy. There is an uncertain mix between rank weightings you can customize yourself, and black box ranking factors that will run in Googly fashion and never be revealed to you. Those who wish to control or understand their site search algorithm won't enjoy this black box product, and this is where Google's status as a public search engine that must guard its ranking secrets against spammers becomes as much of a liability as a strength, given that now, you're guarding the algorithm against potential developers of custom ranking solutions for localized use, as opposed to would-be rank mavens trying to game the system in the case of the adversarial indexing environment of the public Web.
Google has chosen a new pricing model, and the new "index on demand" feature of the cloud-based site search product, as hooks for this latest round of publicity. But on the whole, it's simply useful to be reminded that Google's inexpensive, lightning-fast, uber-scalable site search product now has the chops to handle not only many mission-critical large company needs, but the flexibility and low price to impress niche site owners looking for a better, cheaper, site search solution. Worth a look.
Today there are simply a lot more reasons to take a second look at Google Site Search.
Labels: google site search
View Posts by Category
Andrew's book, Winning Results With Google AdWords, (McGraw-Hill, 2nd ed.), is still helping tens of thousands of advertisers cut through the noise and set a solid course for campaign ROI.
And for a glowing review of the pioneering 1st ed. of the book, check out this review, by none other than Google's Matt Cutts.
Posts from 2002 to 2010