I’ve written previously about Google
Custom Search Engines. These vertical Googlettes let anyone create a search
engine with results based on Google’s index, with an added layer of human
editorial selection.Put more simply, you create a Google CSE; you select the
sites you want in it, and then you let anyone search your CSE from your site.
New Google CSEs appear almost daily.You can
see examples at Google
here, and there’s even a
directory of them being maintained here. Google CSEs offer a couple link
building opportunities, one of which might be described as affinity linking.
What is affinity linking and how do Google CSEs impact it? As always, it
best to illustrate by example.How’s this for verticality (no pun intended):
This search engine is oriented towards glider pilots, students, and instructors.
This search engine gives higher rankings on glider-related results than other
similar sky sports such as hang glider, para glider, RC glider, etc.
The first link building opportunity is to look for Google CSEs in your
niche.If you run the Soaring Society of America
site, then it’s a pretty good bet the folks over at
will have an affinity for your content and include your site if they haven’t
already. Have they?Yes.
But that’s an easy one. The Soaring Society of America is a non profit
association-type site. Of course the folks at Soaring Search have heard of it
and included it
I did a little more looking and found this soaring
content that was
not included at SoaringSearch. Zero matches equals opportunity lost.
Don’t depend on the people running the many Google CSEs to stumble across
your content. Be proactive and look for them.Use the
Google CSE directory and see if
there are engines that fit for your content.If you find one, contact the owner
and suggest inclusion.
The second linking opportunity offered by having a Google CSE is from Google
themselves. Look at
Google’s CSE picks again. I bet those sites are getting several benefits
from that inclusion, among them a little Google-centric link love. Remember
also to submit your Google CSE here
of course. And here. And you
might want to look through the results for the search "Directory
of Google Custom Search Engines." They should yield a few links for your new
Lastly, forward-thinking link builders might plan for the possibility that
Google could incorporate existing topical Google Custom Search Engines into
regular Google results.It’s certainly logical.The people running topical
Google CSEs are a secret army of human reviewers adding a layer of editorial
oversight to what are normally spam-heavy results. Google’s CSEs are genius in
that regard.I don’t know if or when the tipping point will come when CSEs are
so prevalent that every subject has one, but as I love to say, the web is self
organizing. People find ways to make it better.
I also wonder if one day someone will use Google.com and search for "Soaring
instructors", and among the results will be this entry
Try this search again at the topical Google Custom Search Engine
If Google’s goal is to provide a better searcher experience, then wouldn’t a
well maintained vertical Google CSE be a logical place to steer the searcher?
I walk the walk as well. I have my own Google CSE for the three sites I
run.You can use the box below to search
EricWard.com, URLwire.com, and
WardReport.com. Give it a try.
Remember, don’t ignore the other players in the custom search engine space,
Yahoo Search Builder. They offer
similar opportunities, as well.
Eric Ward has been in the link building
and content publicity game since 1994, providing services ranking from
linking strategy to a
monthly private newsletters on linking for subscribers,
The Ward Report. The
Link Week column
appears on Mondays at Search Engine Land.
Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.