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Google Custom Search Engine (CSE)

If you regularly search the same sites over and over again, or have a preferred list of sources of information for a topic or research then consider setting up a Google Custom Search Engine (CSE). A Google CSE uses Google's search technology but restricts the results to websites that you specify. They can be created and used for searching industry sectors, reading lists or groups of sites covering a particular subject.

A Google CSE cannot search password protected sites, or databases where you have to enter terms into search boxes in order to pull up data.

You must have a Google in order to set up a Google CSE and all CSEs are public.

  1. Go to and sign in to your Google account, or create an account if you do not already have one.
  1. Click on 'Create a new search engine'.
  1. On the next page, fill in the boxes for search engine name and description.

    Add the URLs of the web pages you want to include under 'Sites to search'. Type in one URL per line.

    Check the box top say that you have read the terms and conditions and click on 'Next'.

  2. On the next page choose a style.

    Then test your CSE by running a search under 'Try your search engine'. If everything seems OK click on 'Next'.

  3. The next page gives you the code you need if you want to host it on your web site or blog. Ignore this if you are going to host it on Google. Rather confusingly there is no finish or end button to take you back to your CSE dashboard. Just click on 'Google custom search' in the upper left hand corner of the screen
  1. Your Google CSE dashboard should now list the search engine that you have just created. Click on the title and it will take you to the version hosted on Google. You can link to this from your web page or blog.

    The 'Control panel' link next to the title of your search engine in your dashboard opens up a page with additional options for customisation.

Last updated January 7, 2013  

This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. To view a copy of this license, visit  Copyright Karen Blakeman, 2013

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