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Set up your own Google Custom Search Engine (CSE) and embed it on your web site


You can set up your own Google Custom Search Engine for your web site. This will give you the highest degree of control and customization over the search engine, how results are displayed, whether images are included, and many other features a Google Custom Search Engine offers, such as synonyms, highlights of special results, schema types, and even categories and faceted search.

Google Custom Search Engines are extensively documented by Google in the Custom Search Help Center. We are not going to reproduce that documentation here, but instead focus on a few MIT-specific recommendations for your Google CSE.

Recommendations for MIT site owners

  • Use a Google account that can be transferred to others in your department if needed, rather than your own personal Google account. (Remember that MIT offers G Suite for Education accounts if you want a Google account managed by MIT
  • Google Custom Search Engines include advertising, but if you are using it for an MIT site you can be covered under MIT's non-profit status to remove ads; see How to register my CSE under MIT's education/non-profit status below.
  • Once you have your Google CSE set up, the instructions at Use the MIT Google Custom Search Engine (CSE) to embed search on your site may be helpful to you; remember to use the Javascript snippet for your CSE, not the general MIT one.
  • You can configure your CSE to index multiple sites at MIT; this is similar to the "collections" feature of the new deprecated Google Search Appliance, and allows you to create a single search function that searches across all your web properties.
  • If you use Google Analytics and would like to associate your CSE with your Google Analytics account, make sure you create your CSE with the same Google account that owns your Google Analytics.

How to register my CSE under MIT's education/non-profit status

The process of registering a CSE under MIT's education/non-profit status is automatic on Google's end, and works as follows:

  1. You need to add the MIT G Suite for Education account as an administrator to your CSE.
  2. You need to send us an email at with a basic description about your site and the list of MIT contacts for your site. These administrators should all have active accounts. If your site is not part of the domain, please make sure to describe how your organization is affiliated with MIT.
  3. Once we verify that the site is an MIT educational or research site and not used for commercial purposes, we can accept the invitation.
  4. Google will automatically promote your CSE to non-profit status with 24-48 hours after that's done.

If you have questions or would like to request a consultation, please contact us at so we can follow up.

See also

IS&T Contributions

Documentation and information provided by IS&T staff members

Last Modified:

February 07, 2019

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