Google site search is on the way out. Now what?
With Google sunsetting its site search product, many companies are wondering where to turn for this functionality; columnist Paul Shapiro provides some alternatives.
Spring has sprung, and Google has started off the season with some spring cleaning of its service lineup. They’ve recently announced that Google Site Search is on the way out. Come April 1, 2017, Google will discontinue sales and new renewals of the service, and a year later, April 1, 2018, the service will be completely shut down.
So, what’s the big deal? Search is search, right? The short answer: no. The longer answer is a little more complex, but still easy enough to understand from an end user’s point of view. While not everyone utilizes website search features, those who do are looking for something specific and expect to find answers quickly and easily. If people are on your website and using the search feature, they are obviously interested in what you have to say or in what you’re selling, so catering to them is important. If your search function is weak, users may leave your site, meaning you’re losing a fan, a lead and a customer — and in 2017, that is simply unacceptable.
Google Site Search was an easy-to-implement, safe bet that provided Google-level search within your website. Website owners knew what they were getting, and users felt comfortable using the feature. Now what?
Before you start scrambling to find a suitable replacement, let’s talk a bit about what led us to this point and where you can feasibly go from here. What are current customers losing, and what other options are available for website search functions? Trust us, it’s not as bad as it seems.