Google Custom Search enables you to create a search engine for your website, your blog, or a collection of websites. You can configure your search engine to search both web pages and images. You can fine-tune the ranking, customize the look and feel of the search results, and invite your friends or trusted users to help you build your custom search engine. You can even make money from your search engine by using your Google AdSense account.

There are two main use cases for Custom Search - you can create a search engine that searches only the contents of one website (site search), or you can create one that focuses on a particular topic from multiple sites. You can use your expertise about a subject to tell Custom Search which websites to search, prioritize, or ignore. Because you know your users well, you can tailor the search engine to their interests.

With Google Custom Search, you can:

  • Create custom search engines that search across a specified collection of sites or pages
  • Enable image search for your site
  • Customize the look and feel of search results, including adding search-as-you-type autocompletions
  • Add promotions to your search results
  • Leverage structured data on your site to customize search results
  • Associate your search engine with your Google AdSense account, so you make money whenever users click ads on your search results pages.

Available editions

Custom Search Engine comes in two flavors:

Google Site Search lets you create search engines that do not include ads, remove Google branding (if you so choose). In addition, Google Site Search customers can retrieve results in XML, so that you have more control over how the results are presented to your users.

Available APIs

After creating a Custom Search Engine, you can use a default page hosted by Google to show your results to the user, or you can embed search functionality directly in your website. The following resources are available to developers who want more control over creating search engines and customizing the appearance of search results:

  • The Custom Search Control API lets you embed Google Custom Search element in your web pages and other web applications using JavaScript.
  • The JSON/Atom API lets you develop websites and programs to retrieve and display search results from Google Custom Search programmatically. With this API, you can use RESTful requests to get search results in either JSON or Atom format.
  • The XML API use a client application of your choice to retrieve a list of custom search engines (CSE) under an account, create and delete custom search engines, and retrieve code for a search box, among other things. It is available to Google Site Search customers only.

Getting started

The easiest way to get started with Custom Search is to create a basic search engine using the Control Panel. You can then download the key XML files you need to modify to customize your search engine programmatically.

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Custom Search