A Quick Tutorial: How to Add Google Search in a WordPress Site

by Montel Anthony

Adding Google Search to your WordPress site is a strategic move that can significantly enhance your website’s user experience and search functionality. By integrating Google Custom Search, you provide your users with a powerful and reliable search tool. This tutorial guides you on how to add Google Search to a WordPress site, ensuring your visitors can easily navigate your content. Moreover, integrating this feature can improve your site’s search capabilities, making information retrieval seamless for users.

This article will walk you through the necessary steps, from preparing your site for Google Search integration to incorporating it using a plugin or manually with code. Whether you aim to use a search plugin for WordPress, a Google plugin for WordPress, or include blog Google search functionality, you’ll find methods to achieve a smooth integration tailored to your needs.

Why Add Google Search to Your WordPress Site?

Integrating Google Search into your WordPress site offers a multitude of benefits that enhance both user experience and site functionality. Here’s why adding Google Search is a strategic move for your website:

  • Familiarity and Reliability: Users trust Google for search, and integrating Google Custom Search Engine (CSE) brings that same level of trust to your site. This familiarity can significantly improve user experience, making visitors more comfortable in navigating your site.
  • Customization and Efficiency: Google CSE allows for extensive customization, including the ability to limit searches to specific parts of your site or certain types of content. This not only makes the search more relevant but also encourages visitors to spend more time exploring your site. Features such as:
    • Limiting searches to your site only
    • Customizing search results to match your site’s theme
    • Faster, more efficient search results directly from your WordPress site
  • SEO and Site Performance: The partnership between Google and WordPress ensures that WordPress sites are optimized for Google’s search algorithms. This synergy enhances the likelihood of better search rankings due to WordPress’s SEO-friendly features, such as:
    • An SEO-friendly site structure
    • Mobile friendliness
    • Page optimization via meta tags

Additionally, Google Search Console integration offers tools for monitoring SEO performance, enabling site owners to optimize their content for better visibility and indexing. The console allows for direct submission of content to Google, monitoring of analytics, and alerts for crawl errors, which are crucial for maintaining the health of your site’s SEO.

In conclusion, adding Google Search to your WordPress site not only elevates the user experience by leveraging the power and reliability of Google’s search capabilities but also complements WordPress’s inherent SEO strengths. This integration encourages deeper engagement with your site’s content and can contribute to improved search rankings and site performance.

Preparing Your Site for Google Search Integration

Before integrating Google Search into your WordPress site, it’s crucial to prepare your site to ensure a smooth process. Here’s a step-by-step guide to get your site ready:

  1. Verify Your Site’s Ownership in Google Search Console
    • Sign up for a Google Search Console Account to access various tools that help monitor your website’s SEO performance.
    • Use the HTML tag method for site verification. This involves adding a meta tag to your site’s homepage. Navigate to the ‘Ownership Verification’ section in Google Search Console and select the HTML tag option. Copy the provided tag.
    • Install and activate the All in One SEO plugin on your WordPress site. This plugin simplifies the process of adding SEO-related changes, including the Google site verification code.
    • Paste the Google site verification code into the ‘Google Verification Code’ box within the All in One SEO plugin settings and save your changes.
  2. Create and Submit Your XML Sitemap
    • An XML sitemap is crucial for Google to crawl and index your site effectively. You can create an XML sitemap using the All in One SEO plugin.
    • Once created, copy the XML sitemap link from the plugin’s Sitemap section.
    • Go to Google Search Console and click on the ‘Sitemaps’ menu from the left column. Add the last part of your sitemap URL under the ‘Add new sitemap’ section and click the ‘Submit’ button. This action helps Google to start crawling your website.
  3. Optimize Your Site for Google Crawling
    • Ensure your site is accessible to Google by checking your Robots.txt file. This file tells Google which pages to crawl and which to ignore. Make sure it’s not blocking important pages.
    • Follow the one-page, one-keyword rule to optimize your content for better visibility.
    • Avoid thin and duplicate content as this can negatively impact your SEO.
    • Regularly improve and publish new content to keep your site fresh and engaging for both users and search engines.
    • Monitor and track your progress using Google Search Console. This tool offers valuable insights into your site’s rankings, traffic, and overall performance over time.

By following these preparatory steps, you’ll set a strong foundation for integrating Google Search into your WordPress site. This not only enhances your site’s search capabilities but also aligns with best practices for SEO, ensuring your content reaches its intended audience effectively.

Creating a Custom Google Search Engine

To create a custom Google Search Engine for your WordPress site, follow these streamlined steps. This process involves setting up a search engine on the Google Custom Search Engine platform and integrating it into your site, offering enhanced search capabilities and customization options.

Step-by-Step Instructions:

  1. Setting Up Your Custom Google Search Engine:
    • Visit the Google Custom Search Engine page at cse.google.com/cse/all or search for “Google custom search engine” to find the setup page.
    • Click on “New search engine” and enter your WordPress site’s details. If you wish to include multiple sites in your search results, format your input as site1.com OR site2.com.
    • Specify the language for your search engine, for example, English, and give your search engine a name.
    • Explore the Advanced Options to further customize your search engine. You can specify up to 10 item types using schema.org vocabulary. Make sure to read the Terms of Service before proceeding.
  2. Customizing and Obtaining the Code:
    • After creating your search engine, you can add descriptions, keywords, and customize the layout by accessing the “Look and Feel” settings from the sidebar.
    • Copy the provided code from the “Get Code” button. This code needs to be placed on your WordPress site where you want the search engine to appear. For WordPress sites, this is typically in the searchform.php file. For static HTML5 sites, it should be placed in the body section.
    • Customize the appearance of your search engine directly from the website panel. This includes enabling or disabling image search, changing language settings, and customizing the search engine’s style through the CSS source file.
  3. Integration Options:
    • WPCode Plugin: An efficient method to add the Google Custom Search Engine to your WordPress site is by using the WPCode plugin. Simply paste the copied code into a new snippet in the plugin’s dashboard.
    • Manual Code Addition: For those who prefer manual integration, place the copied code in your theme’s searchform.php file or a custom page template designed for search results.
    • Customization and Configuration: After integration, return to the Google Custom Search Engine control panel to further refine your search engine. This includes setting up filters, ordering results, and even monetizing your search engine with a Google AdSense account.

By following these steps, you not only enhance the search functionality on your WordPress site but also provide a more customized and user-friendly search experience. This integration allows for more accurate results and reduces the load on your site, making it an essential upgrade for any WordPress site owner looking to optimize their site’s search capabilities.

Integrating Google Search with a Plugin

Integrating Google Search into your WordPress site can significantly enhance your site’s search functionality, making it more user-friendly and efficient. For those who prefer a simpler, coding-free solution, utilizing plugins is the recommended approach. Here’s how you can easily integrate Google Search with a plugin:

  1. WP Google Search Plugin:
    • Installation: Navigate to your WordPress dashboard, go to Plugins > Add New, and search for “WP Google Search”. Install and activate the plugin.
    • Configuration: After activation, a new menu item “WP Google Search” will appear in your dashboard. Click on it to manage your search settings. You’ll need to enter your Google Custom Search Engine ID here.
    • Adding the Search Bar:
      • Via Widget: Go to Appearance > Widgets, find the WP Google Search widget, and add it to your desired sidebar or footer area.
      • Via Shortcode: Use the provided shortcode [wp_google_searchbox] to place the search bar on any page or post.
  2. Google Site Kit by Google:
    • This plugin not only aids in integrating Google Search but also connects your site with multiple Google tools for enhanced functionality. After installing and activating Google Site Kit, follow the setup wizard to connect your site with Google Search Console.
  3. Additional Plugins for Enhanced Google Integration:
    • Google XML Site Maps: Improves SEO by assisting search engines in better indexing your site. Install and activate to automatically create sitemaps.
    • Fonts Plugin | Google Fonts Typography: Offers a selection of 1000+ Google Fonts, easily integrated with your WordPress theme for enhanced site aesthetics.
    • WPCode Plugin: Ideal for safely adding custom code snippets, including your Google Custom Search Engine ID, without editing theme files directly.

Remember, while plugins offer a convenient way to integrate Google Search and other functionalities into your WordPress site, it’s crucial to keep them updated to ensure compatibility and security. Regularly check for updates and review settings to maintain optimal site performance and user experience.

Adding Google Search Manually Using Code

Adding Google Search manually using code to your WordPress site is a direct method that offers you full control over the integration process. Here’s a concise guide to help you through:

  1. Backup and Replace Code in the searchform.php File:
    • Before making any changes, ensure you back up your theme’s searchform.php file. This precaution allows you to restore the original state if needed.
    • Replace all the existing code in the searchform.php file with the code you copied from your Google Custom Search Engine setup. This step directly substitutes the default WordPress search functionality with Google’s powerful search.
  2. Adding the Google Search Widget or Shortcode:
    • Widget: Add a custom search widget to your preferred widget area through the WordPress dashboard. Navigate to Appearance > Widgets, and place a text or custom HTML widget where you desire the search bar to appear. Paste the Google Custom Search Engine code into the widget.
    • Shortcode: For adding the Google search bar to specific pages or posts, you can utilize a shortcode. Create a simple shortcode in your theme’s functions.php file that outputs the Google Custom Search Engine code, and then use that shortcode wherever you’d like the search bar to appear.
  3. Advanced Integration Options:
    • Script and Display Code: Insert the script file path provided by Google into the body tag of your site’s HTML. Then, paste the display code in the specific area where you want the search box and results to be shown.
    • Alternative Plugins for Enhanced Search: If you’re looking for more advanced search capabilities, consider plugins like SearchWP, ElasticPress, or Ivory Search. These plugins offer extensive search functionalities beyond the default WordPress search, including the ability to search custom fields, attachments, and use Ajax for live search results.

By manually adding Google Custom Search to your WordPress site, you not only improve the search experience for your users but also leverage the powerful search algorithms of Google. This method gives you the flexibility to customize the search functionality according to your site’s needs, ensuring a seamless integration that enhances your site’s usability and accessibility.


Throughout this article, we have delved into the numerous ways by which Google Search can be seamlessly integrated into a WordPress site, accentuating the dual benefits of enhancing user experience and bolstering site functionality. From the straightforward method of using plugins for those who prefer a coding-free approach to the more hands-on method of manually implementing code for full control and customization, the options at your disposal are diverse and tailored to meet various needs and preferences. This customization not only enriches the site’s user interface but also leverages Google’s robust search algorithms, ensuring that your content is easily accessible and navigable by your audience.

The journey towards integrating Google Search into your WordPress site, as outlined, spans from understanding the intrinsic value it brings to your digital platform to executing this integration with precision. This process not only augments the usability and efficiency of your site but also aligns with SEO best practices, contributing to superior site performance and potentially higher search rankings. Looking ahead, the integration of Google Search into WordPress sites stands as a pivotal move for site owners aiming to optimize their content visibility and provide a stellar search experience for their users. Reflecting on these insights, it is evident that such integration is not merely an enhancement; it is a strategic necessity in the ever-evolving digital landscape.

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