Monday, November 5, 2007

Hot Tourist Website leverages Google Search

Joseph Brown


Miami Beach USA

Miami Beach USA covers one of the world's hottest tourist destinations with profiles of visiting celebrities, coverage of special events such as "Art Basel Miami Beach," and articles of academic interest on diverse subjects such as "MiMO" or Miami Modern architecture. As a Google News source site our "South Beach Magazine" section produces articles each day on a broad range of topics designed to appeal to prospective tourists from all over the world.

Our search problem was simple: We had 11 years worth of content that was rapidly becoming unwieldy to present to our readers in a meaningful way, and we needed a search function that gave our visitors immediate access to all the content we had produced over the years. In short, we needed a search function that was fast, accurate and cost-effective.

After trying various perl scripts that ultimately didn't fit our needs, we decided to give Google CSBE a try and the results were phenomenal. We grabbed the code, pasted it into our includes, and in literally 10 minutes our search problem was solved. We now have a fast, reliable search solution that gives us an exact picture of what topics our readers find most interesting. CSBE acts as a guide allowing us to channel our future content generation efforts toward the exact topics most desired by our readers. Our next step will be building our own user interface using CSBE's XML feed.

While the speed and accuracy of Google search is a given, it's also interesting to note that having the "Google Custom Search" logo in our menu bar has the added benefit from the user's perspective of putting a familiar face on our site's search function. We feel it gives our visitors confidence that using our search function won't be a frustrating waste of time that users may have encountered with some other less capable search solutions.

Google CSBE has been a huge success for us because it benefits our users, and that's what success on the web is all about.