Yahoo has unveiled a new tool which allows you to build a custom search engine for your personal needs, your business or even your website. While Yahoo! Search Builder personalized search engine is not exactly a new concept (see: Rollyo and Eurekster), this is the first customized search engine tool provided by one of the major search engines.
So how does it work?
After setting up an account (or logging in with your existing Yahoo! account), within 4 simple steps, you can have your very own customized Web search engine.
Step 1: Define your Search Engine
Yahoo! Search Builder gives you 3 options for your search engine. The standard search option is Yahoo! web search which provides results from Yahoo!’s index. You can also choose to search Yahoo! News and search a particular domain (i.e. your website).
Both the web search and news search can be customized to suit your preferred areas of interest. You can also specify which websites are included in the web search or choose to exclude certain websites from the results.
Step 2: Select Your Search Box
You can choose what type/style of search box you want displayed on your website. Parameters include the size of the search box, the inclusion of popular search prompters, color schemes and site encoding to match your own. This allows you to ensure that your search box fits in with your existing website.
Step 3: Brand the Search Results
As the results from the search will appear on a Yahoo-esque style page, this step allows you to maintain your company branding through to this stage in the search process. You can specify color schemes; include logos, set language preferences and other customization options.
Step 4: Add It to Your Website
The last step in the simple process is adding the new search engine to your website. The wizard will provide you with the HTML code that you need to embed in your website. It even allows you to take the search engine for a test run, before adding it to your site.
and viola – you have a new personal search engine!
One of the great features of the Yahoo! Search Builder is the reporting functionality available. Its one thing to have a useful search function on your website, but it’s even better if you can track users’ searches. Imagine knowing what your visitors are actually looking for on your website. Alternatively, if they are looking to leave your website, now you can get an insight into where they are going next.
The only recommendation I would make to Yahoo!, is the monetization of the search. While a personalized search engine is nice, website owners would be more willing to adopt the new tool if there was a financial gain from its implementation. It could be something as simple as revenue share on clicks from sponsored listings…oh well – food for thought for the Yahoo! execs.
So if you are looking for a search functionality for your site, or just hoping to make your website more user friendly, I would recommend giving the new Yahoo! Search Builder a whirl.
Best of all, it’s free!