The new Yahoo Search Builder is an easy way to add search to your site. I took it for a quick test drive today and liked what I saw. It’s very simple to set up and Yahoo gives you some decent customization options. There are a also a couple of nice features to give you a lot of control over what gets searched. And if you’re into web standards you might like that the code to add the search box is all css.
First here’s a look at the generic search box I created.
It’s the basic search box though you can see you have three options of where to search, the web, this site, and news, which is Yahoo news. I included all three, but you can include any of them individually. So if you’re looking for a quick and easy search for your site only include the ‘this site’ option and you have one. Of course Yahoo can only search the pages it knows about so your pages will need to be in the index. This isn’t the kind of search that will allow you to track what your visitors search for on your site either and knowing what people are looking for on your site is some great marketing data. It’s still a quick way to add search to your site.
Searching the web and Yahoo news would seem pretty straight forward, but Yahoo provides some really nice customization features for both. For the web search you can decide which sites you want to include in the search. I added a few seo forums and seo blogs for my search box above. Yahoo will limit searches to the sites listed. This is a great way to customize a vertical search for your industry. You also get to add keywords that will be included with every search. I added ‘seo’ and search engine optimization’ for the search above. No matter what terms you type into the query my two terms will be automatically added. Alternately you can tell Yahoo which keywords and sites to exclude from any search.
Similarly for the news search you can provide a list of sites from which to limit searches as well as select from a series of check boxes for which categories to draw results from. You can also select ‘Last Hour,’ ‘Last Day,’ ‘Last Week,’ ‘Last 2 Weeks,’ and Last 30 Days’ for the time frame for the search. I just left the search above at the generic defaults of 30 days and to search for everything.
You can customize the colors of the search box, but what I like more is you can customize the width of the search box to help integrate it better with your layout. I also like having the Yahoo logo in the search box itself instead of on the submit button. It goes away as soon as you click in the box, but it looks nice and seems a little less intrusive to me. I didn’t add it to my search box here, but there’s an option to show the most popular searches below the search box, which is another nice feature Yahoo added.
The last bit of customization is in the ability to brand the search results to your company. If you perform a search you’ll see I just added some text to the top of the page. You have the option to add a logo, but there is a height limit and I didn’t want to rework my logo for this post, hence the text only for my results. You have some basic color options for the text and have a limited set of options for the type of font and the font size. You can set the search to open in a new window or have it open in the same window.
It would be nice if Yahoo gave us site owners a little cash back on the search since they do show ads, but for all I know they do give a cut if you’re signed up for the Yahoo Publisher Network, which I’m not at the moment. Even without the cash Yahoo has created a nice tool to build search into out sites.