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Google Custom Search to Replace HubPages Search

  1. Marina Lazarevic profile image84
    Marina Lazarevicposted 22 months ago

    Today we're changing the internal search engine on HubPages to run Google Custom Search. We know that search on HubPages didn't always work as intended, and we expect Google to ultimately provide more relevant results for both Hubbers and visitors using the site. The new search feature should not feel very different, overall, but there are two changes you can expect:

    - Google will only search Featured content on HubPages. This should drastically improve the quality of content that appears in the results.
    - The "scope your search" filters will be removed from the sidebar. Google Custom Search will continue to support exact username match, however.

    The old HubPages search will be available for a limited time and if you like, you can switch back and forth between it and Google Search. Let us know what you think!

    1. Patty Inglish, MS profile image90
      Patty Inglish, MSposted 22 months ago in reply to this

      At first, I was surprised by the shaded ads at the top and right side of the results list, but then realized that they are AdSense. I think it will be OK and I like the search results I am receiving. Thanks!

    2. colorfulone profile image86
      colorfuloneposted 22 months ago in reply to this

      I like it better with the better results.
      So! I will use that search more. smile

  2. Marcy Goodfleisch profile image93
    Marcy Goodfleischposted 22 months ago

    Maybe I am not understanding how the search works (in terms of benefitting Hubbers?). I just did a search and it seems the results will drive readers away from the site (to other sites that have nothing to do with a hub)? 

    I can see how HP can get some revenue for the ad clicks - but it takes traffic away from the site, right?

    1. Marina Lazarevic profile image84
      Marina Lazarevicposted 22 months ago in reply to this

      Google Custom Search should benefit anyone using search on HubPages because the results will be better (higher quality since only Featured content will be searched) and more relevant. There are text ads, however, which if clicked on, will take people off of HubPages. We're still fine-tuning some things though.

      1. Writer Fox profile image79
        Writer Foxposted 22 months ago in reply to this

        You can get the same feature without ads, which would be a better user experience:
        https://www.google.com/work/search/products/gss.html

        1. Marcy Goodfleisch profile image93
          Marcy Goodfleischposted 22 months ago in reply to this

          Thanks for posting that info, WF - I'd like to know the rationale for installing the version that has ads. I am sure HP will get revenue if it drives traffic to paid sites, but that would drive traffic away from us.

          1. Writer Fox profile image79
            Writer Foxposted 22 months ago in reply to this

            The one without ads costs money, depending upon how many people use the search feature.

            1. Marina Lazarevic profile image84
              Marina Lazarevicposted 22 months ago in reply to this

              This is why we chose the one with ads. Not because we wanted the ads, but because we didn't want to pay for a product to provide a service not many people use. It's not a very popular feature on HubPages.

              1. Writer Fox profile image79
                Writer Foxposted 21 months ago in reply to this

                If the search feature isn't used that much, it's only $100 a year to get the feature without advertising.  Not a big expense.

                1. lobobrandon profile image81
                  lobobrandonposted 21 months ago in reply to this

                  It's another source of revenue for HP

  3. Lady Lorelei profile image78
    Lady Loreleiposted 22 months ago

    I would love to see the top section gone. I am afraid that I would accidentally click an adsense link by error. To the side of the screen would make it much less confusing I think.

    1. Patty Inglish, MS profile image90
      Patty Inglish, MSposted 22 months ago in reply to this

      That's a good point.

    2. Marina Lazarevic profile image84
      Marina Lazarevicposted 22 months ago in reply to this

      Thanks for the feedback, Lady Lorelei. Unfortunately, the Google Custom Search product doesn't give us control over the number or placement of ads.

      1. Marcy Goodfleisch profile image93
        Marcy Goodfleischposted 22 months ago in reply to this

        Oh dear. I hope that works out okay, in terms of keeping readers on the site.

        Is there a way to frame the search results page with a header that lets people know there are related hubs at the bottom? I don't understand why we would have an internal search tool that basically benefits Google, or benefits paid sites Google is hawking.

        1. rebekahELLE profile image91
          rebekahELLEposted 22 months ago in reply to this

            A lot of sites use the Google Custom Search engine.  Because it is powered by Google., I don't think HP can alter what the top of the page looks like.  It may end up having more benefits in the long run.  The search results should be better and faster.

      2. sunforged profile image64
        sunforgedposted 22 months ago in reply to this

        Google Custom Search is highly customizable - far past what you are currently demonstrating in this early example. Im sure the adsharing technology doesnt make it as straightforward for Hubpages as It would be for most of us.

        A quick search and review brought this up:

        https://developers.google.com/custom-se … /reference

        the maxTop* and number parameters would solve this concern as would displaying an alternate search page to logged in users(with ads turned off)

        1. Marina Lazarevic profile image84
          Marina Lazarevicposted 22 months ago in reply to this

          That's a different Google product. You're looking at AdSense Custom Search Ads which is different from Google Custom Search. The names are too similar.

          1. TIMETRAVELER2 profile image93
            TIMETRAVELER2posted 22 months ago in reply to this

            You guys have totally lost me on this one.  Where is this stuff and how do you use it?  I feel like an idiot, but still need to know.  Thanks.

            1. Marina Lazarevic profile image84
              Marina Lazarevicposted 22 months ago in reply to this

              Just do a search in the box at the top of the page! Not sure if you've used the feature before, but if so, you'll notice it looks different. smile

              1. TIMETRAVELER2 profile image93
                TIMETRAVELER2posted 22 months ago in reply to this

                Marina:  I use it rarely and still don't see where one has a choice as to how to use it.

                1. Marina Lazarevic profile image84
                  Marina Lazarevicposted 22 months ago in reply to this

                  Here's a screenshot pointing to it:

                  http://s2.hubimg.com/u/12315871.png

                  You can use it to search for content on HubPages only - usernames, Hubs, QA, etc. The search feature used to search the entire site; now, it only searches Featured content. I hope this helps!

                  Edit: made the image bigger so you can actually see it!

                  1. TIMETRAVELER2 profile image93
                    TIMETRAVELER2posted 22 months ago in reply to this

                    I get that part, but what is the deal with using one type or the other.  I still don't see where you can do that...I don't care to do it, but would still like to know.

          2. sunforged profile image64
            sunforgedposted 22 months ago in reply to this

            My apologies, assumed HP used enterprise product GSS - which allows for that level of customization

    3. Babbyii profile image85
      Babbyiiposted 22 months ago in reply to this

      I can definitely see someone clicking on the ad links by accident. Plenty room for confusion here.

  4. Marcy Goodfleisch profile image93
    Marcy Goodfleischposted 22 months ago

    I agree - It could penalize a registered member of the site if there's an accidental click.

    In general, I don't think anything that will take a reader off of the site (especially if they're searching for content on the site) should be placed more prominently than content on the site.  The Google ads should be at the bottom of the top group of hubs in the search results.

    As an example of why this is important - suppose someone knows of or has heard of a hub on this site about a particular topic, but they can't remember the exact title or Hubber. If ads appear in the search, they may not even realize they're being driven away from the site, and away from the story they heard about. 

    I frequently mention content I know about on the site, and refer people to it. I can remember "HubPages," but I might not remember the title of the hub or who wrote it.

  5. calculus-geometry profile image86
    calculus-geometryposted 22 months ago

    "filter by hub" and "filter by user" are giving poor search results; in fact, all they do is filter out relevant search results!  try it for yourself searching for an obscure topic for which there is only one or very few hubs. 

    the unfiltered search results show what you'd expect, but when you click one of the filter buttons, the search results are a bunch of hubs unrelated to the original search, or only tangentially related.  these hubs only show up because the relevant hubs are in their list of related hubs. 

    for example, try it with the search phrase "black names" (without quotes) which was the subject of RonElFran's HOTD a while back.

    1. Marina Lazarevic profile image84
      Marina Lazarevicposted 22 months ago in reply to this

      Good point and thanks for that example. We'll play around with the filters a bit to see if they can be improved. We may end up removing them.

      1. Glenn Stok profile image96
        Glenn Stokposted 22 months ago in reply to this

        Marina, it may be a good idea to set the default filter to "filter by hub" and let the user choose "no filter" if they wish. I say this because I'm finding a lot of old and obsolete forum posts coming up as results with a few tests I've been doing.

        In general, I like the Google Custom Search. I use it on my own business site too. It just needs to be fine tuned.

        1. Marina Lazarevic profile image84
          Marina Lazarevicposted 22 months ago in reply to this

          Thanks for the suggestion, Glenn!

  6. paradigm search profile image81
    paradigm searchposted 22 months ago

    Works great. I did a search for "paradigmsearch is awesome" and got 377 results.

    1. Paul Maplesden profile image88
      Paul Maplesdenposted 22 months ago in reply to this

      "paradigm search is awesome" gets 561 results.

      1. paradigm search profile image81
        paradigm searchposted 22 months ago in reply to this

        It's nice being loved.

      2. snakeslane profile image82
        snakeslaneposted 22 months ago in reply to this

        I got 596 results for 'snakeslane' cool...
        smile

      3. Glenn Stok profile image96
        Glenn Stokposted 22 months ago in reply to this

        Since we're on the subject, I got 4,840 results for Bill Gates.

        1. colorfulone profile image86
          colorfuloneposted 22 months ago in reply to this

          OMG, are you really Bill Gates, Glenn?  wink

          I got 69,700 results for "colorfulone". Woow!

  7. paradigm search profile image81
    paradigm searchposted 22 months ago

    I found a bug! I did a search for "marina lazarevic is a legend" and the search results are still highlighting the word "awesome" from my previous search.

    1. Marina Lazarevic profile image84
      Marina Lazarevicposted 22 months ago in reply to this

      tongue

  8. janderson99 profile image85
    janderson99posted 22 months ago

    If you want to avoid all the ads this simple search works well
    site:hubpages.com tofu ; site:hubpages.com curry recipes ; etc. entered into the search box - you can store it as a favorite and change the search term at will => "tofu" "curry paste" etc. It picks up subs and ECs

  9. lobobrandon profile image81
    lobobrandonposted 22 months ago

    Firstly as Glen stated make the default to filter by hub, there are a few useless forum threads that appear.

    Secondly google custom search has ads by default and they cannot be removed. There is another option where you pay "Google Site Search" that doesn't have ads. Clearly this isn't a viable option for Hubpages. Getting some revenue from internal search shouldn't be a problem.

    Anyone who has used google search will know that the highlighted links are ads, it also mentions that they are "Ads by Google related to..." If you're scared about losing visitors, that's going to be a bare minimum, but with the better search results, you would probably have many new visitors. So on the whole would be a win-win both for HP and authors.

    Thirdly, the problem of clicking on ads by mistake shouldn't be an issue as it's going to be the HP ad code and not yours. There isn't any revenue share there. But as always don't click an ad unless you're really interested.

    PS: I love the new search results btw smile

    References:
    Getting rid of ads on custom search: https://support.google.com/customsearch … 0354?hl=en
    Using Site search instead: https://productforums.google.com/forum/ … nS3AQwXOfE

    1. Marina Lazarevic profile image84
      Marina Lazarevicposted 22 months ago in reply to this

      Thanks for the feedback, lobobrandon!

  10. WriteAngled profile image91
    WriteAngledposted 22 months ago

    I use Adblock Plus and this removes all ads on the Hubpages Google Search as well.

  11. paradigm search profile image81
    paradigm searchposted 22 months ago
  12. Danny Miles profile image61
    Danny Milesposted 22 months ago

    I just started Hubbing so I assume I've been using the Google Search. Seems like it works pretty much the exact same way as regular Google Search which, in my opinion, is great!

  13. Top Indian cinema profile image60
    Top Indian cinemaposted 22 months ago

    It would be very beneficial to all in the long run though initially it can make life tough for new hubbers like me. To not be selfish, personally, I Like the change.

  14. calculus-geometry profile image86
    calculus-geometryposted 21 months ago

    Sorry if a bit off topic, but does HP plan to add search to the mobile version of the site?

    Back on point, it seems to me that by outsourcing the site search to Google HP is implicitly bowing to Google's valuation of our pages (which can be inferred from their placement in the serps).  I imagine that if HP had built an independent site search engine, the ordering of search results would be somewhat dependent on scores (after all, why invest so much effort in calculating them and justifying them to the users?) And yet instead HP is using Google to deliver and sort the results, and Google doesn't care one whit about how HP scores us and our hubs. It rather undermines Paul E. & Co.'s insistence that scores are meaningful.

    Just an observation.  Carry on!

    1. lobobrandon profile image81
      lobobrandonposted 21 months ago in reply to this

      The google search results are definitely better than the original HP search results. It doesn't mean anything other than improvement. Pointless wasting resources on a feature that isn't utilized a lot.

      1. calculus-geometry profile image86
        calculus-geometryposted 21 months ago in reply to this

        I'm definitely in favor of the new Google-based search; the old HP-native one always had a bunch of irrelevant stuff listed among the relevant.

          It just seems odd to me that  HP insists its ranking/rating scheme (scores) has merit and yet it doesn't use it in the most natural application of a ranking scheme --  site search.

 
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