If you are reading this article, which has nothing to do with the primary focus of this website (African American Literature), you probably know that Google Site Search (GSS) was discontinued in April 2018.
Google automatically replaced their fee based GSS with the “free”1 Custom Search Engine (CSE). CSE is an awful replacement. CSE is so bad I immediately knew I had to replace it with something else. The main problem with CSE is the ads; they usually pushed this site’s search engine results below the fold. Our site’s visitors were only seeing advertisements and missing the search results. The increase in our revenue from the ads delivered (you can connect CSE to an Adsense account) in our CSE search engine was $15.77 over a 16 month period!
I searched and discovered a replacement search engine would be expensive, difficult to implement, or both. As a small indie site I don’t have the resources to spend a great deal of time researching and implementing a replacement for this single feature, so I gave up. However, after almost a year of tolerating Google’s search engine burying my own site’s search results behind a page full of ads, I decided to delete Google’s search engine altogether. Now Google can bury my site’s search results behind ads on their website, but I couldn’t tolerate them doing it on this site.
Bing Site Search was the perfect solution. Sure, it is fee based, but there are no advertisements crowding out search results! Microsoft’s charge for Bing is reasonable ranging between four to six dollars, depending upon the options selected, for every 1,000 queries. Depending upon your, site’s search volume Bing may cost less than Google’s GSS. Not only that, one can argue that Bing’s search results are actually superiors to Google’s.
I was so pleased with the Bing service I decided to use them as my browser’s default search engine. I’ve already earned a $5 gift card to Starbucks, by doing nothing more than what I normally do.
1 Nothing Google provides is “free.” There is always a price, often a hefty one. Obviously, Google discontinued GSS in favor of CSE to deliver more advertisements. Google would probably be under less pressure to deliver advertisements if they did not use their search engine to intercept traffic to websites that were (or could be) serving Google ads. There is also a great deal of value in the queries, traffic, and user data Google collects through GSS and CSE.
2The search engine on this page, our site’s blog, is provided by WordPress. I briefly considered trying to figure out how to extend WordPress’s search feature to the rest of the AALBC.com website, but that seemed too difficult.