These days, there are several ways to get a customized or internal search engine free of charge. Google's Custom Search Engine (CSE) and Yahoo's Search Builder lead the way, and their products are fairly easy to implement. After the Big Two, there are several services trying to make their mark, but one that that stands out is the Swicki from Eurekster.
A Swicki is a combination search portal and widget that can be customized on any topic or topics either within a Web site, group of Web sites, or the Web at large. The end product is a custom search experience returning relevant, targeted results as well as revenue opportunity (yes, you can monetize your visitors!) for blog and Web site publishers.
A Swicki is created in a fairly simple, four-step process. And, they can be shared, so if creating one seems like too much of a hassle, there are literally thousands to simply grab for free from Eurekster.com. These neat little customizable search engines look nice on a Web site or blog and they pull information from a combination of sources, including Blinkx's video feed.
But there's more to a Swicki than that, especially from an SEO perspective. First of all, the company has its own search engine, spidering the Web and producing its own results--and, it works very well. Secondly, the social search widget included in the Swicki features a customizable tag cloud that adds popular search terms automatically to the Web page upon which it is embedded, making it easy for the Swicki user to reflect popular keywords or build their brand.
But what's unique is that the Swicki search results ranking is reflective of every previous keyword search, click, vote and user behavior within each customized Swicki, lending a publisher-guided and community-powered slant to the results. While this might not be ideal for general search, it can really improve upon the search experience when used within the context of a niche or topic of interest.