The Art of Building A Google Custom Search Engine – Part 2: Searching the Entire Web

After countless hours list diving with various strings using filetype, list, and inanchor operators, I found some strings I like to use regularly. However, when I attempted to build a custom search engine (CSE) around the concepts, the search would yield no results.

Thanks to the Facebook comments of Irina Shamaeva and Dave Galley, I was able to unlock the answer and comprehend where I went wrong. I can’t say enough about the Facebook sourcing groups, they are a wonderful resource to resolve sourcing problems and drive understanding into realms never imagined.

Regardless, the point is you have to build the CSE a different way. Here’s a quick overview in how to search the entire web, which is necessary when you want to carry a certain syntax over several sites (as in the case of a list finder).

First, you’ll need to log into a Gmail account and go here to get started:

https://cse.google.com

Click on “New Search Engine” up at the top of the page.

Enter any website as a site to search (this will change later but Shamaeva used the example of using a .com top-level domain).

cse1

Click the “Create” button.

Click Public URL and save it for later (this will be your direct link to the CSE).

https://cse.google.com/cse/publicurl?cx=001394533911082033616:ea8vpkl6_-8

 

Optional Step (Cosmetic):

-Click Edit Search Engine.

-Change look and feel to full width (easier to manage).

-Click save!

cse2

Setting the CSE to Search the Entire Web

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Click “Setup.”

Notice the “Search only included sites” drop down in the screenshot below:

cse3

Change the drop down to “Search the entire web but emphasize included sites.”

cse4

Now select the site you entered and click “Delete.”

cse5 cse6

 

Now you’ve built a CSE that will search the entire web. You can add refinements as explained in my last post to focus on certain areas or use straight Boolean.

In this case, I was testing out some keywords around the inanchor operator via refinement (to find resumes):

cse7 cse8 cse9

Keep in mind you’ll need to gauge which method is more of use. Sometimes a straight site search/x-ray can be more effective depending on what you are looking for. Try both methods and see which one yields the best results, and change your Boolean and refinements until you get your CSE pulling the right information. I still test and change my CSE syntax regularly, because something that works today may not work tomorrow.

I hope this helps. I’m looking forward to seeing some of the creative concepts you come up with. In my next post I’ll go over some alternative methods for building a CSE to directly target profiles from certain sites (as well as a deeper dive into refinements), so stay tuned.

 

Greg Hawkes is a Strategic Talent Sourcer, Speaker, Author, and Founder of the HRSourcingToolbox. He has worked as both a Technical Recruiter and Sourcing Analyst for healthcare, engineering, biotechnology, manufacturing and many other industries. He has been in the recruitment field for over 10 years, and got into heavy sourcing and headhunting back in 2012. He is an ongoing contributor to SourceCon – with topics ranging from Site Searches and CSEs, to Deep Dives andURL Sourcing. While preparing to speak at SourceCon 2017, he built the HRSourcingToolbox with a large inventory of Free Recruitment and Sourcing Tools. He has recently joined Houghton Mifflin Harcourt as a Strategic Sourcer and loving every minute of it! He is a huge fan of emerging technologies and Boolean Syntax and always willing to share a technique or hack to find the elusive purple squirrel.

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