30 October, 2009

Exclude Websites in Your Searches / Custom Searches

I've been doing quite a bit of research lately on technical topics, where the results would frequently include results from a pay site, Expert Exchange. If you;re familiar with Expert Exchange, they've been very successful in getting their pages to return high in the list of Google results. I have found it very frustrating when I inadvertently click-through on one of their pages.

With a little research, I found that Google has a custom search option, where you can include and exclude certain websites. I have created a custom search that includes all Google results with the exception of Expert Exchange. To make it really useful though, I needed it to be in my search bar in Firefox, which I use almost exclusively for new searches. I found a Firefox Add-on to do that too.

Here's how you can make your own custom search.
  1. If you don't already have one, you must have a Google account.
  2. Go to the Google Custom Search page and click "Create a Custom Search"

  3. I had to start with a search that favored a site, and then returned to their Control Panel to remove the favored search and add the Expert Exchange exclusion.
  4. Test the search
  5. Add the "Add to Search Bar" Add-on to Firefox
  6. After restarting Firefox, right-click on the search box and select "Add to Search Bar..."
  7. Click the down arrow on the search box and select "Manage Search Engines..." so I could move my new custom search to the top.
  8. Test from the Firefox search box.
Of course this is just one of many uses for Google's Custom Search. If you want the same Expert Exchange as I do, you don't need to create your own, you can use the custom search that I've created.

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