The other day, I was browsing through Quora and I came across something interesting. The question was ‘Is there a way to search multiple websites at once?’ I gave an answer there and left it alone for a while only to be surprised by the attention that it was getting! So I decided to write this post detailing the entire process a little more.
Not searching multiple search engines at once
Now, that question in itself was not very clear. But with a little thought, I could narrow it down to have two meanings.This post isn’t about searching in multiples search engines at once but rather about:
- Search for a keyword (on Google) but limit the results to a few websites alone. This is about stringing together the ‘site:’ operator in Google to search specific sites only.
- Make a search bar on your website where you or other people can search for the content of one or more websites. In this case you want the results to be displayed in a single page rather than firing multiple searches in different websites.
The first one is a more general case and is fairly easy to do. The second, however, requires a bit more of a professional implementation. I did a little digging and found that this is not as uncommon a problem as I had initially anticipated. I came across cases looking to search multiple websites for a keyword or even search multiple domains for a keyword. It sure looked like a lot of people wanted to search inside a list of websites and hence I decided to write this article. The solutions mentioned here doesn’t involve any coding and can be easily done by someone who is not very tech-savvy.
Limit the search to a list of websites using Google
To search on google and limit the results to some websites follow the steps below:
- Go to Google and type your search as usual.
- Before firing the search, add site:site1 OR site:site2, etc as many sites as you want.
- Now do the search and see that the results have now been limited to site1 and site2.
- For example, if you want to search for ‘phone’ on Amazon and Ebay (I don’t know why you would want that but still), use this search query: phone site:amazon.com OR site:ebay.com
You can extend this to have as many websites as you want.
Make a search bar that searches a list of websites
To have a search bar on your website or (any other place of convenience of that matter) follow these steps:
- Navigate to ExpertRec.com
- Sign up with Google and enter one website. You can add more websites later.
- Go to Crawl->What to crawl->URLs to add more URLs
- Here you can add as many URLs as you like
- You can check the demo of your search once the crawl completes and take the search live on your website just by pasting a code snippet.
Now this search bar will have the capability to limit the search to a few websites and you will be in full control of this. You can mention a list of websites and limit your search to just these domains easily using this method. It will search across these websites simultaneously and return the results to a single page with a single keystroke. This page and the search behavior is entirely customizable and that is just one of the added benefits!
You can opt for other services. I recommended this one as I have used and am confident in. Others that I found online are SearchAll and AutoHotkey, that let you search within specific websites.