Creating a Google Custom Search and using it in Drupal

This FAQ was last modified on: Tuesday, June 20, 2017 12:33pm
  • On April 1, 2017, Google discontinued sales of the Google Site Search. All new purchases and renewals must take place before this date. Google Site Search will be completely shut down by April 1, 2018.

    • Existing Custom Search accounts remain available but users may be unable to set up new ones. It is unclear if this sunset of GSS will take GCS with it; but it is likely. Site owners should investigate other options.


  • For Drupal 7 sites it is fairly simple to replace the GSA (Google Search Appliance) with GCS (Google Custom Search); a no-cost ad free service for non-profits. This is super simple on Drupal Express Sites. The instructions below will provide a near match to the default search that the GSA (Google Search Appliance) provides today and after the GSA is decommissioned.

     Google Custom Search – what is it and how do you set one up?

     Google Site Search is specifically designed for businesses looking to create a

    highly customizable Google-like site search solution for your website (or websites).

    A SaaS solution with no hardware or software required, Google Site Search:

    • Brings Google’s industry-leading relevance and powerful search experience to your site

    • Deploys easily and is easy to administer

    • Provides multiple customization options for search results appearance and attributes

    It should be emphasized that Google Site Search creates a separate index for

    the website or websites you specify. It does not influence or impact the ranking

    of your website on

  • You should be logged in to a Google account before you start the process. If you do not have an account you should create one and login. Please ensure your Google account is tied to a Departmental Alias and not to an individual employee's account.
  • Click this link
    • Click the ‘Sign up now link’
      • Don't worry about the pricing as we are eligible for the ad free, no cost service. Just follow the directions below.
  • If you are logged in to an existing Google account and go to custom search engine page
    • From the Custom Search Page click the “Create a custom search engine"
    • Enter the following sites in to the ‘Sites to search’ dialogs
      • *
      • *
      • *
      • *
      • *
    • Leave the ‘Language’ drop down set to the default ‘English’
    • Enter a Name for the search engine in the ‘Name of the search engine dialog
    • Click the ‘CREATE’ button
      • This will take you to the Congratulations page
        • Click the Control Panel button next to Modify your search engine
    • From the Custom Search Engine page for the search engine
      • Click Look and feel link
        • Select Results only
        • Click the Save button to save your changes.
      • Click the Business link
        • From the Settings tab click the “Do not show ads…” radio button
  • That’s it your GSE is ready
  • There are many options to refine your GSE
    • One of interest is Promotions which can be found on the Promotions tab under Search Features
      • This lets you add promoted referrals for query key words
        • These then show up at the top of the returned results in your user’s queries.
    • You can read about this and many other things you can do with Custom Search here:
  • From Drupal you can use this search as the default for your sites:
    • Login as admin to your GT Drupal Express site.
    • Install the Google Custom Search Engine Drupal module and enable the module
    • On Modules page and click on Other tab, look for Google CSE module, and click to enable it.)
      • After installation configure it
        • Configuration » Search and metadata>Search settings
          • Under Active Search Modules
            • Deselect Advance help
            • Select the Google CSE checkbox
          • Select Node
            • Under Default search module select Node
              • This will make the default search look as the Drupal index of the site by default
          • Under GOOGLE CSE
            • In Google Custom Search Engine ID
              • Add the unique Search engine ID
                • You can get this from your GSE search engine page>Basic Tab by clicking the Search engine ID
            • In Search results tab name
              • Enter ‘GT-via-Google’
            • Click the Save configuration button to apply
          • Allow all users to use the GCS
            • People>Permissions>
              • Select Google CSE
                • Check all users for Use Google CSE search
                • Click Save permissions to apply
          • Go to Appearance > Settings > GT Sub Theme (Your current active theme)
            • Under SEARCH OPTIONS
              • Check the Search This Site option
              • Click the Save configuration button
  •  That’s it - now when you search from Drupal you will first get results from the site content then have the option to return results from your CSE ‘GT-via- Google’