6 Great Alternatives to Address the End of Google Site Search

COVID-19 Resource Center

in-site searchGoogle recently stopped all new subscription purchases for their Google Site Search service. The replacement, Google Custom Search Engine (CSE), is right around the corner and widely regarded as a major downgrade to the old in-site search features. Our blog series helps you easily understand what the end of Google Site Search means for your business, what your alternatives are, and how you can turn this into a marketing opportunity.

If you didn’t know, Google Site Search is the search bar on your website that allows visitors to look directly for products, services or other content they can’t find directly through your site’s navigation.

The new CSE service, unfortunately, will serve ads on search results. This means your competitors can advertise within your website. While there are other disadvantages of CSE, the ads alone have caused many to start searching for an alternative solution.

In-site search features are important. As much as 59% of people say they use in-site searches regularly. Finding a replacement for Google Site Search can help you continue to accommodate these users on your site, without them being exposed to your competitors’ ads.

To help you avoid having these ads shown within your website, here are some alternatives you can consider for in-site search services.

What Alternatives are Available to Google Custom Search Engine?

Essentially, there are three main types of alternative search services to choose from: cloud-based, software-as-a-service (SaaS) and server-side solutions. While the differences in how they work are rather technical, their value can be easily explained.

Cloud-based solutions, such as Amazon’s CloudSearch or Microsoft’s Azure Search, are by far the most advanced search services. They provide everything Google Site Search did and much more, including the ability to understand user search intent. However, they may prove to be too expensive and involve a lot of development work for installation and ongoing use.

in-site searchServer-side solutions are on the other end of the spectrum. These search services, such as SearchWP ($49/year) or Relevanssi for WordPress ($49.95/year), are easy to install and use. They’re usually available as plug-ins for most of the popular content management systems and are relatively cheap. The downside is they’re not very scalable, don’t offer as many features as Google Site Search did, and can only handle low volumes of traffic.

SaaS solutions are more or less right in the middle of these two extremes. They offer many of the capabilities of cloud-based solutions, can handle high search volumes, but don’t require a huge investment of time and resources to operate. Some SaaS solutions gaining popularity are Algolia ($49/month) and AddSearch ($29/month). Most SaaS search services will still require some work by a developer, however.

Each of these types of search solutions has their pros and cons. The solution for you depends on how often website visitors use the search features on your site – a product-heavy site may need a more robust solution than a site promoting consulting services. You’ll need to evaluate your current needs and compare them to the solutions available.

Being Prepared Helps You Avoid Losing Potential Customers

It’s important to find a replacement for Google Site Search. The introduction of CSE and the associated ads could lead to lost web traffic and lost customers.

There are many in-site search services available to you. Taking the initiative to implement an alternative search function can help you maintain a great experience for users and keep competitors’ ads off your site.

To learn more about what the end of Google Site Search means for your business, read the first blog in our series, “Everything You Need to Know About the End of Google Site Search“. Stay tuned for the final blog in this series to discover how to take advantage of this new marketing opportunity.

5 thoughts on “6 Great Alternatives to Address the End of Google Site Search

  1. Hi there,
    We have many customers who have migrated from GSS to Swiftype. I would love mention in your post and I’m happy to schedule demo if you’re interested in seeing the product first. Thank you!


  2. If you’re looking for a faster and cheaper option that you can have up and running in minutes, check Sajari.com out. We’re replacing GSS installs every day at the moment. Main reasons are a) you don’t need a developer, b) machine learning powered results are super relevant, c) blazing fast, d) cost effective.

  3. Hi, Thanks for a fine article, yet I could not help but feel you’ve missed another great alternative to GSS: Sooqr Search. We offer a SAAS-based, fully responsive, relevant, instant, filtered & faceted (on)site search and navigation tool. Our onsite search engine will take over the search engine completely; giving searching visitors instant (within milliseconds), faceted and relevant results to a query. Even when a misspelling has been made, Sooqr will let your visitors find exactly what they are looking for. What makes us special? Sooqr uses unique features making this search & navigation solution awesome. With the use of synonyms we make sure ‘searching visitors’ can find exactly what they are seeking. Whether it’d be a pair of jeans, pants or trousers (all being the exact same thing) with Sooqr they’ll find what they are looking for. With the use of Ranking and Banner Rules, you decide what products come first in a search. Maybe you’ve overstocked on a certain brand, or a different brand has a sale going on. With these rules, you decide. Another example of one of our functionalities: misspellings aren’t an issue for us. Even when typing in Ifone (for Iphone), Sooqr fixes it straight away, because of our Error tolerance. We are an affordable substitute to GSS. All we need is a data feed to implement Sooqr into your website. We do however have several extensions for common e-commerce platforms such as Magento, Lightspeed, Shopify and Shopware, simply to make it even easier for anyone to implement our Search, in any language, Sooqr speaks ‘em all. Support is always included. Our pricing depends on the amount of SKU’s you send us, not the number of queries you deal with. And the first 30 days are free. We don’t do long contracts but work on a monthly base, no strings attached and pricing starts at $17,50/mo. I hope you’ve got a clear view of our Sooqr Search Solution as an alternative to GSS! Kylie

Comments are closed.