How to create a simple and robust Google Custom Search Engine (CSE) – Part 2 @SteveRath

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May 11, 2015

Editor’s note: See part 1 of this tutorial, which ran in January, here

But wait – there’s more!!!!

Welcome back – I mentioned earlier of the constraints with the free version? Well here it is – currently, the free version of Google Custom Search limits your results set to 100.

The next few steps will bring the power of the Google CSE to light and allow you to exceed the 100 results limitation.

The power of Refinements/Labels will allow you to exceed the 100 limit. While the free version of CSE is limited to 100 results, you can actually expand this with ‘Refinements/Labels’. While each Label is limited to 100 results, you can add unlimited Labels! So, add 5 labels for 500 results OR add 10 labels for 1000 results.

Step 1. My Refinements are below. To get to the Refinements, click on “Search features”, on the main CSE page, then click on “Refinements” tab, and then click Add.


Step 2. Edit/Create your Refinement. I called this label Stackoverflow (see below). Then I selected the “Search only the sites with this label” radial button. The magic occurs when I create the actual refinement – for this example I’m using the site command to pull Stackoverflow profiles. Here you can use Site: cmd or Boolean to create your refinements.

*Note that Google will display “Stackoverflow” as label as you’ll see in Step 9.


Here’s an example of my refinements for the CSE I developed for SoureCon in Denver (2014):


Step 3. Finally when you’re done creating your refinements you’ll need to assign them to the sites you created. To do this you then click on “Label” which will pop-up a pull down menu of your newly created Labels/Refinements.


Here’s another example of the existing sites for the CSE and the Label’s the sites are associated with.


Once you’ve completed adding your Refinements to your CSR, run it, add your search criteria, and you’ll see the labels. See below.


Try the CSE I call SourceCon Den. You can now build your own search engine and add to it as you discover new sites.

CSE SourceCon Denver URL =

Have fun with it.

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