Google recently released Google Custom Search Engine, or "CSE". This new free Google product offers interesting possibilities for online retailers.
What is a CSE? A custom search engine lets you "build" your own search engine by customizing Google search results. You can restrict your engine to search only certain sites, or you can have it search the whole web. You can give certain sites more or less importance in your search rankings. You can run adsense ads on your engine or not. And you can change the graphical look to match your domain.
How could marketers use a custom search engine?
- A outdoor equipment retailer could build a CSE based on websites from national and state parks to help site visitors plan their next hiking adventure.
- A consumer electronics retailer could build a CSE based on websites of their vendors and manufacturers to help site visitors research products.
- A car parts retailer could build a CSE based on car clubs and car events websites to help enthusiasts find upcoming car shows.
- A baby products retailer could build a CSE which searches trusted baby sites to assist new moms and dads.
- A financial products site could build a CSE based on reputable finance and investing sites to help users with financial planning.
- An inn could build a CSE based on websites of local attractions and restaurants to help visitors plan their activities while in the region.
There's also a chance for enterprising editors to build light-weight businesses as "authority hub" websites on niche topics, just based on judicious editing skills. If an editor selected the right sites and weights, they could grow site traffic based on word-of-mouth and SEO and then monetize their traffic through AdSense. ("You gotta check out this new specialized tropical fish search engine, it has the best results for guppy breeding anywhere online!")
Custom search engines offer a powerful platform for topical search. Consider if a relevant CSE could help your site.