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Search Protocol Reference

Google XML Reference. Revised Feb 2007

Google has developed a simple HTTP-based protocol for serving search results. Search administrators have complete control over how search results are requested and presented to the end user. This document describes the technical details of Google search request and results formats. It assumes that the reader has basic understanding of the HTTP protocol and the HTML document format. For best ranking for search engine your web site needs some processes

Introduction

The Google Search Appliance accepts search requests as input, and returns search results as output.

Search requests, the input, are simple HTTP requests to the Google search engine. Search users typically use HTML forms displayed in a web browser to make these requests, but other applications can also send search requests by making appropriate HTTP requests. The search request format and options available are described in detail in the Request Format section.

Search results, the output, are returned in either HTML or XML formats, as specified in the search request.

HTML-formatted results can be displayed directly in a web browser. The appliance generates HTML results by applying an XSL stylesheet to the XML results. You can customize the appearance of the HTML results by modifying this stylesheet. Additional details are available in the Custom HTML Output Overview section of this document.

XML-formatted output makes it possible to process the search results in web applications or other environments. The XML results format is described in detail in the XML Output section.

Note about formatting in this document: Some long URLs are shown on more than one line for better readability. In a browser, all URLs are continuous strings. URL formatting will get the best ranking in search engines.

 

Request Overview

Using the Google search protocol is as simple as requesting a page from a web server. The Google search request is a standard HTTP GET command, which returns results in either XML or HTML format, as specified in the search request.

 

For get the best ranking in search engines you should follow these instructions.The search request is a URL that combines the following:
Your Google Search Appliance host name or IP address, which were assigned when the appliance was set up
Search interface port (usually 80)
A path describing the search query. The path starts with "/search?", and is followed by one or more name-value pairs (input parameters) separated by the ampersand (&) character.
Submitting a Search Request

Typically, search users make search requests by entering search parameters in a HTML form rendered in a web browser (like the following):
<form method="GET" action="http://search.mycompany.com/search">
<input type="text" name="q" size="32" maxlength="256" value="query string">
<input type="submit" name="btnG" value="Google Search">
<input type="hidden" name="site" value="default_collection">
<input type="hidden" name="client" value="default_frontend">
<input type="hidden" name="output" value="xml_no_dtd">
<input type="hidden" name="proxystylesheet" value="default_frontend">
</form>

Such forms are the most recognizable methods for generating GET requests, but there are numerous other ways. For example, a web page may include a direct link that brings users to a page of search results:
http://search.mycompany.com/search?q=query+string
&site=default_collection
&client=default_frontend
&output=xml_no_dtd
&proxystylesheet=default_frontend

Alternatively, a web application may make a HTTP GET request directly:
GET /search?q=query+string&site=default_collection
&client=default_frontend
&output=xml_no_dtd
&proxystylesheet=default_frontendHTTP/1.0

Each of the above examples will result in the same GET request. The HTTP response to this request contains the first page of search results for the query "query string", restricted to URLs in the collection named "default_collection." The results are rendered into HTML format using the XSL stylesheet associated with the front end named "default_frontend".

The rest of the examples that follow use the raw HTTP GET format (as in the last example).Search engine ranking has been effected by the HTTP usage.


Search Request Examples

Example 1. This request returns the first 10 results that match the search query terms "bill" and "material":
GET /search?q=bill+material&output=xml&client=test&site=operations

Explanation:

The search query is "bill material".
GET /search?q=bill+material&output=xml&client=test&site=operations

Search is limited to the documents in the "operations" collection.
GET /search?q=bill+material&output=xml&client=test&site=operations

Results are returned in the Google XML output format.
GET /search?q=bill+material&output=xml&client=test&site=operations

Example 2. This request returns results numbered 11-15 that match the same query terms and collection as example 1. As specified by the proxystylesheet parameter, the results are rendered in the custom HTML output format defined by the frontend named "test."
GET /search?q=bill+material&start=10&num=5&output=xml_no_dtd&proxystylesheet=test&client=test&site=operations

Explanation:

Some url types are effective on search engine rankings. This search request uses the same search query terms and collection as in Example 1.
GET /search?q=bill+material&start=10&num=5&output=xml_no_dtd&proxystylesheet=test&client=test&site=operations

Results numbered 11 - 15 are returned.
GET /search?q=bill+material&start=10&num=5&output=xml_no_dtd&proxystylesheet=test&client=test&site=operations

Results are returned in custom HTML output format, which is created by applying the XSL stylesheet associated with the "test" front end to the standard XML results. See details for proxystylesheet below.
GET /search?q=bill+material&start=10&num=5&output=xml_no_dtd&proxystylesheet=test&client=test&site=operations

Example 3. This request returns the first 10 German results that match the search query "Star Wars Episode +I":
GET /search?q=Star+Wars+Episode+%2BI&output=xml_no_dtd&lr=lang_de&ie=latin1&oe=latin1&client=test&site=movies
&proxystylesheet=test

Explanation:

The search query term is "Star Wars Episode +I". Search is limited to documents in the "movies" collection.
GET /search?q=Star+Wars+Episode+%2BI&output=xml_no_dtd&lr=lang_de&ie=latin1&oe=latin1&client=test&site=movies
&proxystylesheet=test

Results show the first 10 German results.
GET /search?q=Star+Wars+Episode+%2BI&output=xml_no_dtd&lr=lang_de&ie=latin1&oe=latin1&client=test&site=movies
&proxystylesheet=test

Results are returned in Google custom HTML output format, which is created by applying the XSL stylesheet associated with the "test" front end to the standard XML results.
GET /search?q=Star+Wars+Episode+%2BI&output=xml_no_dtd&lr=lang_de&ie=latin1&oe=latin1&client=test&site=movies
&proxystylesheet=test

 

Custom Parameters

In addition to the search parameters described in the section above, you can also define custom parameters in the search request. The appliance returns custom parameters and their values in the search results. Search request parameters are affected by search engine ranking levels.

For security reasons, all space characters in a custom parameter are replaced by an underscore (_). For example:
http://search.customer.com/search?q=customer+query
&site=collection
&client=collection
&output=xml_no_dtd
&myparam=test+this

The above search request includes the custom parameter myparam with a value of test+this . The space character (represented as "+") in the custom parameter myparam is replaced by the underscore character (_) in the XML output.

The resulting XML output looks like this:

<PARAM name="q" value="customer query" original_value="customer+query"/>
<PARAM name="myparam" value="test_this" original_value="test+this" />

The unmodified value can be retrieved from the original_value attribute.
Query Terms

By default, Google returns only pages that include all of your search terms. You do not need to include "AND" between terms. The order of search terms affects the search results. To further restrict a search, just include more terms.

Google may ignore common words and characters such as where and how and other digits and letters that slow down a search without improving the results. This will cause the lower search engine ranking.

If a common word is essential to getting the results you want, you can include the word by putting a plus sign (+) in front of it. Make sure to include a space before the plus sign. For example, to ensure that Google includes the "I" in a search for "Star Wars Episode I", enter the search query as follows:

Star Wars Episode +I
Special Characters: Query Term Separators

By default, non-alphanumeric characters in a search query separate the query terms in the same way as space characters. The following characters are exceptions:
double quote mark (") Used as a special query term for phrase searches as described below.
plus sign (+). Treated as a Boolean AND
minus sign or hyphen (-) Treated as part of a query term if there is no space preceeding it. A hyphen that is preceded by a space is the Exclude Query Term operator.
decimal point (.) Treated a query term separator unless it is part of a number (e.g., 250.01).
ampersand (&) Treated as another character in the query term in which it is included.

If a document contains a number, with or without a decimal point, that has letters immediately before or after it, the letters are treated as a separate word or words. For example, the string 802.11a is indexed as two separate words, 802.11 and a.

Special Query Terms:

Google search supports the following special query terms. The user or search administrator can use these terms to access additional search features.Additional search features can help the level of search engine ranking
Note: All query terms must be correctly URL-encoded in the search request sent to Google search.

 

Special Query Capability,Description Sample Usage:

Back Links The query prefix link: lists web pages that have links to the specified web page. No spaces can come between link and the web page URL.
No other query terms can be specified when using this special query term. Query terms info, link and cache ignore collection restrictions that are specified by the site parameter. See section 2.2 for details. The search request parameter as_lq can also be used to submit a link request. link:www.google.com
Boolean OR Search Google search supports the Boolean OR operator. To retrieve pages that include either word A or word B, use an uppercase OR between terms. The search request parameter, as_oq, can also be used to submit a search for any term in a set of terms. vacation london OR paris
Cached Results Page The query prefix cache: returns the cached HTML version of the specified web document that the Google search crawled. Note there can be no space between cache: and the web page URL. Words that appear in the query are highlighted in the cached document.That point is so important for the best search engine ranking.

To use Google's default cached result display, omit the output parameter in the cache request. To customize the display of cached results, request XML or Custom HTML output as part of the cache request and ensure that your parser or stylesheet handles the incoming cache data. Query terms info, link and cache ignore collection restrictions that are specified by the site parameter. See section 2.2 for details. cache:www.google.com web
Date Range Search Restrict search to documents that contain dates that fall within a time frame, or before or after a specified date. You can search any dates between 1990-01-01 and 2034-11-09. The dates can be in either of the following formats:
The YYYY-MM-DD (ISO 8601) format. Date ranges using this format should be separated by two periods (..).
The Julian format. The Julian date is calculated by the number of days since January 1, 4713 BC. For example, the Julian date for August 1, 2001 is 2452122. Date ranges in this format should be separated by a hyphen (-).

To specify how the appliance obtains dates, use controls in the administrative console on the Crawl and Index > Document Dates page. You can choose from the document title, URL, body, last modified field, or a specific meta tag. For meta tags, the date must be the only information contained in the meta tag content. Meta tag usage is spesifically important for the best search engine ranking.

For further options for searching dates in meta tags, see Using inmeta to filter by meta tags. daterange:2004-01-13..2006-01-13
Directory Restricted Search Restrict search to documents within a domain or directory. Enter the query followed by site: followed by the host name and path of the web directory. To limit the search to a domain, specify a string that matches a complete name-segment of the canonical host name.To limit the search engine ranking attracts on the search engine ranking.

To search a particular directory on a web server (including the root directory), specify a string that is the complete canonical name of the host server followed by the path of the directory. If the forward slash character (/) is at the end of the web directory path specified, then search is limited to the files within that directory. Files in sub-directories are not considered.

The URLs used with site must contain fewer than 119 characters. The exclusion operator (-) can be applied to this to remove a web directory from consideration in the search. Only one site term per search request can be submitted.

The search request parameters, as_sitesearch and as_dt can also be used to submit directory restricted searches.
Domain search examples:

site:www.google.com
site:google.com
site:com


Directory search examples:

admission site:www.stanford.edu/group/uga
site:www.google.com/enterprise/
site:www.google.com/about

Exclusion Sometimes what you're searching for has more than one meaning. For example, the term "bass" can refer to either fishing or music. You can exclude a word from your search by putting a minus sign (-) immediately in front of the term you want to exclude from the search results. Be sure to include a space before the minus character.

The search request parameter, as_eq, can also be used to submit terms to exclude. bass -music
File Type Filtering The query prefix filetype: filters the results to include only documents with the specified file extension. No spaces can come between filetype: and the specified extension.

You can specify multiple file types by adding filetype: terms to the search query, combined with the Boolean OR. Google filetype:doc OR filetype:pdf
File Type Exclusion The query prefix-filetype: filters the results to exclude documents with the specified file extension. No spaces can come between -filetype: and the specified extension.

You can exclude multiple file types by adding more -filetype terms to the search query. Google -filetype:doc
-filetype:pdf
Meta Tag Search You can filter results by meta tags and their values using inmeta. Used with the operators ~ or =, inmeta restricts results to required or partial meta tag values in the same way as the requiredfields and partialfields search parameters. See Meta Tags section for more details. inmeta:department=Human Resources
Number Range Search To search for documents or items that contain numbers within a range, type your search term and the range of numbers separated by two periods (..). You can set ranges for weights, dimensions, prices (dollar currencies only), and so on. Be sure to specify a unit of measurement or some other indicator of what the number range represents. pencils $1.50..$2.50
Phrase Search Search for complete phrases by enclosing them in quotation marks or by connecting them with hyphens. Words marked in this way appear together in all results, exactly as you enter them. Phrase searches are especially useful when searching for famous sayings or proper names.

The search request parameter, as_epq, can also be used to submit a phrase search. "yellow pages"
yellow-pages
Title Search (one term) If you precede a query term with intitle:, Google search restricts the results to documents containing that word within the first ten words of the title. No spaces can come between the intitle: and the following word.

Putting intitle: in front of every word in your query is equivalent to putting allintitle: at the front of your query. intitle:Google search
Title Search (all terms) If you precede a query with allintitle:; Google search restricts the results to those with all of the query words in the title. The query terms must appear in the first ten words of the title. allintitle: Google search
URL Search (one term) If you precede a query term with inurl:, Google search restricts the results to documents containing that word in the result URL. No spaces can come between the inurl: and the following word.

The term inurl works only on words, not on URL components. In particular, it ignores punctuation and uses only the first word following the inurl: operator. To find multiple words in a result URL, use the inurl: operator for each word. Preceding every word in your query with inurl: is equivalent to putting allinurl: at the front of your query. inurl:Google search
URL Search (all terms) If you precede a query with allinurl: Google search restricts the results to those with all of the query words in the result URL. Listing in Google will be done after making submission to Google.

The term allinurl works only on words, not URL components. In particular, it ignores punctuation. Thus, allinurl: foo/bar restricts the results to page with the words "foo" and "bar" in the URL, but doesn't require that they be separated by a slash within that URL, that they be adjacent, or that they be in that particular word order. There is currently no way to enforce these constraints. allinurl: Google search
Web Document Info The query prefix info: returns a single result for the specified URL if the URL exists in the index. No other query terms can be specified when using this special query term. Query terms info, link and cache ignore collection restrictions that are specified by the site parameter. See section 2.2 for details. info:www.google.com

Filtering:

Google search provides many ways for you to filter the results that are returned from your search query. In addition to the automatic filtering and language filtering described in this section, the search appliance provides filtering by query parameters, query terms and meta tags, which are documented in their respective sections. Filtering process is on way after submission.
Automatic Filtering

Google uses automatic filtering to ensure the highest quality search results.

Google search uses two types of automatic filters:
Duplicate Snippet Filter - If multiple documents contain identical titles as well as the same information in their snippets in response to a query, only the most relevant document of that set is displayed in the results.
Duplicate Directory Filter - If there are many results in a single web directory, then only the two most relevant results for that directory are displayed. An output flag indicates that more results are available from that directory.

By default, both of these filters are enabled. You can disable or enable the filters by using the filter parameter settings as shown in the table. Filter value Duplicate Snippet Filter Duplicate Directory Filter
filter=1 Enabled (ON) Enabled (ON)
filter=0 Disabled (OFF) Disabled (OFF)
filter=s Disabled (OFF) Enabled (ON)
filter=p Enabled (ON) Disabled (OFF)

When a search filter is enabled and removes some results, the search results output indicates that results were filtered. See the appendix Estimated vs. Actual Number of Results for more information about how a filtered result set is identified and for recommendations for displaying the results.

Although the filter=0 option exists, Google recommends against setting filter=0 for typical search requests, because filtering significantly enhances the quality of most search results.

When the Google Search Appliance filters results, the top 1000 most relevant URLs are found before the filters are applied. A URL that is beyond the top 1000 most relevant results is not affected if you change the filter settings.

 

Automatic Language Filters:

Language filters limit a search to pages in the specified languages. The algorithm for automatically determining the language of a web document is not customizable. The language determination algorithm is mainly based on the majority language used in the web document body text. Language filter will start to process after submission.

Note: Encoding schemes for input and output of search requests are important when providing international search. Please review the Internationalization section for more details.

The automatic language filters are: Language Automatic Language Filter Name
Arabic lang_ar
Chinese (Simplified) lang_zh-CN
Chinese (Traditional) lang_zh-TW
Czech lang_cs
Danish lang_da
Dutch lang_nl
English lang_en
Estonian lang_et
Finnish lang_fi
French lang_fr
German lang_de
Greek lang_el
Hebrew lang_iw
Hungarian lang_hu
Icelandic lang_is
Italian lang_it
Japanese lang_ja
Korean lang_ko
Latvian lang_lv
Lithuanian lang_lt
Norwegian lang_no
Portuguese lang_pt
Polish lang_pl
Romanian lang_ro
Russian lang_ru
Spanish lang_es
Swedish lang_sv
Turkish lang_tr

Combining Language Filters:

Search requests that use the lr parameter support the Boolean operators identified in the table below in order of precedence. Boolean Operator Sample Usage Description
Boolean NOT [ - ] -lang_fr Removes all results that are defined as part of the Language Filter immediately following the - operator. The example lr value would remove all results in French.
Boolean AND [ . ] gloves.hats Returns results that are in the intersection of the results returned by the collection to either side of the dot operator. The example restrict value returns results which are in both the "hats" and "gloves" custom collections.
Boolean OR [ | ] lang_en|lang_fr Returns results that are in either of the results returned by the collection to either side of the pipe operator (|). The example lr value returns results matching the query that are in either French or English.
Parentheses [ ( ) ] (gloves).(-(lang_hu|lang_cs)) All terms within the innermost set of parentheses are evaluated before terms outside the parentheses are evaluated. Use parentheses to adjust the order of term evaluation. The example lr value returns all results in the "gloves" custom collection that are not in either the Hungarian or Czech collections.

Note: Spaces are not valid characters in the collection string.

Internationalization:

To support searching documents in multiple languages and character encodings, Google provides the ie and oe parameters. The ie parameter indicates how to interpret characters in the search request. The oe parameter indicates how to encode characters in the search results. To appropriately decode the search query and correctly encode the search results, supply the correct ie and oe parameters, respectively, in the search request.Multiple language conditions can help the search engine ranking.

Note: When providing search for multiple languages, Google recommends using utf8 encoding value for the ie and oe parameters.

Examples:

Example 1. The following search request interprets the search query "gloves" using latin1 encoding , searches for English or French results, and returns results using latin1 encoding:
GET /search?q=gloves&client=test&site=test&lr=lang_en|lang_fr&ie=latin1&oe=latin1

Example 2. This request interprets the search query "gloves" using latin2 encoding, searches for results which are not in Hungarian or Czech, and returns results using latin2 encoding:
GET /search?q=gloves&client=test&site=test&lr=(-lang_hu).(-lang_cs)&ie=latin2&oe=latin2

Example 3. This request interprets the search query "gloves" using utf8 encoding, searches for results which are in Simplified or Traditional Chinese, and returns results using utf8 encoding:
GET /search?q=gloves&client=test&site=test&lr=lang_zh-CN|lang_zh-TW&ie=utf8&oe=utf8

Note: See the Language Filters section for details of language-specific searches that use the lr parameter.

Character Encoding Values:

Here is a list of encoding values that can be used with the parameters ie and oe:Language Encoding Value Alternate Encoding Value
Chinese (Simplified) gb GB2312
Chinese (Traditional) big5 Big5
Czech latin2 ISO-8859-2
Danish latin1 ISO-8859-1
Dutch latin1 ISO-8859-1
English latin1 ISO-8859-1
Estonian latin4 ISO-8859-4
Finnish latin1 ISO-8859-1
French latin1 ISO-8859-1
German latin1 ISO-8859-1
Greek greek ISO-8859-7
Hebrew hebrew ISO-8859-8
Hungarian latin2 ISO-8859-2
Icelandic latin1 ISO-8859-1
Italian latin1 ISO-8859-1
Japanese sjis Shift_JIS
Japanese jis ISO-2022-JP
Japanese euc-jp EUC-JP
Korean euc-kr EUC-KR
Latvian latin4 ISO-8859-4
Lithuanian latin4 ISO-8859-4
Norwegian latin1 ISO-8859-1
Portuguese latin1 ISO-8859-1
Polish latin2 ISO-8859-2
Romanian latin2 ISO-8859-2
Russian cyrillic ISO-8859-5
Spanish latin1 ISO-8859-1
Swedish latin1 ISO-8859-1
Turkish latin3 ISO-8859-3
Turkish latin5 ISO-8859-9
Unicode (All Languages) utf8 UTF-8

 

Sort By Relevance (Default):

By default, Google combines hypertext-matching analysis and PageRank technologies to provide users with highly relevant results. Hypertext-matching analysis uses the design of the page, examining over 100 factors to determine the best result for your query term. PageRank considers the link structure of the entire index to understand how each page that have submission to Google and other search engines links to the other pages in the index
Sort By Date

Google search engine can order search results by date in ascending or descending order.. The date of a web document is defined by parameters configured by the search administrator. When a search request uses the sort-by-date feature, the date associated with each result document is used to determine the order of the results.

When using the sort-by-date feature, the automatic quality filter will sometimes re-order results when performing result grouping. This can be disabled by adding the filter=0 parameter to the search request when performing search by date.

Example:

The request
GET /search?q=chicken+teriyaki&output=xml&client=test&site=test&sort=date:D:S:d1
returns the first 10 top results sorted by both date and relevancy which match the query "chicken teriyaki" in the "test" collection.

Details:

To sort the results by date, include the sort parameter in the search request, formatted as follows:

date:<direction>:<mode>:<format>

where <direction>, <mode> and <format> can have the following values:<direction> Value Results
A Sort results in ascending order.
B Sort results in descending order.
<Mode> Value Results
S Sort relevant results by date. Google's algorithm determines a subset of the most relevant results from the set of all results, and returns that subset sorted by date.
R Sort the 1000 most relevant results by date.
L Return the date information for each result. No sorting is done.
<format> Value Results
dl The format of the value returned for each search result is set to YYYY-MM-DD .

 

Meta Tags:

Google search engine provides search parameters and special query terms that enable you to leverage the meta tags that are available in your content after submission to Google. These make it possible to find matches specifically in meta data content, rather than content occurring anywhere in the document. This section describes the following methods of using meta data:
Requesting meta tag values using the getfields parameter
Filtering by meta tags using the requiredfields or partialfields parameters
Using inmeta to filter by meta tags
Requesting Meta Tag Values

Use the getfields parameter in a search request to specify meta tag values to return with the search results. The search engine returns only meta tag information for results that actually contain the meta tags. The search for meta tags is case-insensitive. Use only whole words in the getfields parameter, not partial words or word "stems." There is a limit of 320 characters returned for each meta tag when using getfields. This character limit includes the meta tag name and content.
Usage
GET /search?q=[search term]&output=xml&client=test&site=test&getfields=[meta tag name]
Example

The following search request returns the first 10 results that match the query "books" in the "test" collection:
GET /search?q=books&output=xml&client=[test]&site=[test]&getfields=author.title.keywords

If any of the results contain the author, title or keywords meta tags, then the values of those meta tags are returned with the respective results. For example, the following tags could be returned with this search request:
<META NAME="author" CONTENT="Jakob Nielsen">
<META NAME="title" CONTENT="Usability Engineering">
<META NAME="keywords" CONTENT="Usability, User Interface, User Feedback">
Details

To specify multiple meta tag values to be returned, list all meta tag names separated by a period (.) as in the example above. To request all available meta tags for each search result, specify an asterisk (*) as the value for the getfields parameter.

Note: When meta tag values are requested, they are not displayed in results requested in the default HTML format. Please use the custom HTML or XML output options to take advantage of this feature.

Note: All specified meta tag names and values must be double URL-encoded. See an example in the following section.
Filtering by Meta Tags

The Google search engine can filter results by the values of the results' meta tags. This section describes how to use the requiredfields and partialfields input parameters to filter results using meta tag values. This section describes how to use the requiredfields and partialfields input parameters to filter results using meta tag values. You can use these parameters to include only search results that contain specified meta tag values. Also, you can use these parameters with the exclusion operator (-) to exclude from the result set any results that contain specified meta tag values.

The term partialfields refers to part of the meta tag content, rather than part of a word. Other filtering techniques are noted in the Filtering section.
Usage
GET /search?q=[search term]&output=xml
&client=test
&site=test
&requiredfields=[meta tag name]:[meta tag content]

The q= parameter is required when using requiredfields or partialfields parameters.
Examples

Example 1. The following search request returns the first 10 results that match the query "checks" in the "test" collection and also contain either of the following meta tags:

<META NAME="department" CONTENT="Human Resources">
<META NAME="department" CONTENT="Finance">
GET /search?q=checks&output=xml
&client=test
&site=test
&requiredfields=department:Human%2520Resources|department:Finance

Example 2. The following search returns the first 10 results that match the query "checks" in the "test" collection that do NOT contain the following meta tag:

<META NAME="department" CONTENT="Engineering">
GET //search?q=checks&output=xml
&client=test
&site=test
&requiredfields=-department:Engineering

Example 3. The following search request returns the first 10 results that match the query "books" in the "test" collection, and also contain the word "Scott" somewhere in the "author" meta tag. Some example meta tags that satisfy this search request are:

<META NAME="author" CONTENT="Sir Walter Scott">
<META NAME="author" CONTENT="F. Scott Fitzgerald">
GET /search?q=books&output=xml
&client=test
&site=test
&partialfields=author:Scott
Details

Multiple meta tag constraints can be specified using the requiredfields and partialfields parameters. To filter for the presence of a meta tag, indicate the name of the meta tag to be found. To filter on a specific meta tag value, indicate the name of the meta tag followed by the colon ":" character and then the specific value. The partialfields parameter matches complete words, not parts of words. In addition, the match must be within the first 160 characters of the meta tag. See the examples in the table below for sample usage.

To combine multiple name-value pairs, use the following operators in order of precedence from highest to lowest:

Using inmeta to Filter by Meta Tags

The special query term inmeta provides meta tag filtering directly from the search box. In combination with simple operators, inmeta filters by meta tags in the same way as the requiredfields or partialfields search parameters. You can further refine inmeta filtering by using the special query terms .. and daterange to search by number and date range (See Query Terms).

The special query term inmeta and relevant search parameters map to each other in this way:inmeta Syntax Search Parameter Syntax Description
inmeta: [meta tag] &requiredfields=[meta tag name] Returns results that contain the specified meta tag.
inmeta: [meta tag name]~[meta tag content] &partialfields=[meta tag name]:[meta tag content] Returns results that have the specified meta tag with a value that matches some or all of the specified meta tag content.
inmeta: [meta tag name]=[meta tag content] &requiredfields=[meta tag name]:[meta tag content] Returns only results that match the exact meta tag content value specified.

Examples

Example 1. The following search request returns results that contain either of the following meta tags:

<META NAME="department" CONTENT="Human Resources">
<META NAME="department" CONTENT="Finance">
checks inmeta:department=Human+Resources+OR+checks inmeta:department=Finance

Example 2. The following search request returns results that contain the word "Scott" somewhere in the "author" meta tag. Some example meta tags that satisfy this search request are:

<META NAME="author" CONTENT="Sir Walter Scott">
<META NAME="author" CONTENT="F. Scott Fitzgerald">
books inmeta:author~Scott

Example 3. The following search request returns results that contain "size" meta tag values between 30 and 50 inches:
flat+panel+TV inmeta:size:30..50

Example 4. The following is an open-ended date range search request that returns results containing "date" meta tag values later than 1967-01-01:
Hendrix inmeta:date:daterange:1967-01-01..

Date meta tags must contain only the date information. If you want to filter by date meta tags, make sure the meta tag content fields do not contain any information other than a date in either Julian or ISO 8601 format.
Limits

Search request limits

The following table describes the size limits of a search request.Component Limit (per search request)
Search request length 2048 bytes
Query term length 128 characters not including punctuation or spaces. See section Special Characters: Query Term Separators for details.
Query Terms
(includes query terms in parameter q and in any parameters starting with as_ ) 50 query terms. Query terms beyond the first 50 are ignored. The search results do not indicate that the excess query terms were ignored.
site: parameter
(includes use of as_sitesearch parameter) 1

Meta data limits

The following is information on the size limits of meta data results.

Maximum number of meta tags that can be returned with getfields: 64.
Maximum number of bytes per meta tag returned, including the name of the meta tag and its contents: 320 bytes.
Maximum number of bytes of meta data returned per search result: 4K bytes.

Custom HTML Output Overview

Google search engine has a built-in XSLT (eXtensible Stylesheet Language Transformation) server, and can generate custom HTML using your XSL stylesheet. Search requests that include the output parameter set to xml_no_dtd and a valid proxystylesheet parameter value are automatically processed by the XSLT server as requests for custom HTML output.

Using the XSL stylesheet specified by the proxystylesheet parameter, the XSLT server applies the transformation rules found in the XSL stylesheet to the standard Google XML results. Although this document assumes that the output generated by applying the XSL stylesheet is HTML, almost any output format can be generated by using appropriate XSL stylesheet rules. For any front end, the default XSL stylesheet can be customized or replaced by the search administrator.

To customize the XSL stylesheet used to generate custom HTML output, see Google's XML output format to determine the XML tags that may be transformed using a customized XSL stylesheet.

Additionally, you can leverage the proxycustom parameter to pass custom XML tags to the XSLT server. Because including custom XML does not generate search results, this feature is useful for implementing additional static search pages, such as an advanced search page.

Notes:
XSL stylesheets used by the XSLT server are cached for 15 minutes. To force the XSLT server to use the latest version of an XSL stylesheet, set the proxyreload input parameter to a value of 1 in your search request.
XSL stylesheets that include other files may not be used with the Google search engine. An XSL stylesheet that contains the following tags generates an error result:
<xsl:import>
<xsl:include>
xmlns:
document()
When you request cached results in custom HTML output, the BLOB XML tag and associated value are automatically converted to the original text before the XSL stylesheet rules are applied. When using an XSL stylesheet that customizes cache results, simply use the values of the CACHE_LEGEND_TEXT, CACHE_LEGEND_NOTFOUND and CACHE_LEGEND_HTML XML tags directly instead of applying a rule on the BLOB subtag.
If you use input or output encodings other than latin1, see the Internationalization section for more details.
More information about XSL and XSLT can be found on the W3C web site.


Internationalization

The Google search engine handles over 20 character encoding schemes. This section discusses special considerations for the custom HTML output format with encoding schemes other than latin1.

To support all the encoding schemes supported by Google, the XSLT server follows a process to ensure that the results are returned in the correct encoding scheme. When requesting search results through the XSLT server, the server translates the results to the UTF8 encoding scheme before applying the selected XSL stylesheet. After the XSL stylesheet rules are applied to generate the results, the results are converted to the encoding scheme that is specified by the output encoding parameter, oe. The one exception to this rule is cached result pages, which get converted to the encoding scheme of the cached document after XSLT processing.

Each front end for your search appliance is associated with an underlying stylesheet. All XSL stylesheets must be in latin1 or UTF8 formats.

XML Output Overview

For maximum flexibility, Google provides search results in XML format. Using the Google XML results, you can use your own XML parser to customize the display for your search users. For developers using an XSL stylesheet to transform the XML results instead of developing their own XML parser, proceed to the Custom HTML section.

Note:
Element values are valid HTML and are suitable for display, unless otherwise noted in the XML tag definitions. Some values are URLs and must be HTML-encoded to be displayed.
To remain forward-compatible, your XML parser that parses Google search results should ignore attributes or tags that are not documented. By ignoring unknown tags, your custom XML parser can continue working without modification when Google adds more features to the XML output in the future.
For custom parameters that contain spaces, each space is replaced with "_". You can still retrieve the unmodified value from the original_value attribute. For example:

<PARAM name="temp" value="token_ring" original_value="token+ring" />
Character Encoding Conventions

The first line of the Google XML results indicates which character encoding is used. See the XML Standard for information about character encoding.

Certain characters must be escaped when they are included as values in XML tags. These characters are documented in the XML standard, and are shown in the table below. All other characters in the XML results are presented without modification.Character Escaped Form
< either &lt; or &#60;
& either &amp; or &#38;
> either &gt; or &#62;
' either &apos; or &#39;
" either &quot; or &#34;


Google XML Results DTD

Google XML results can be returned with or without a reference to the most recent DTD (Document Type Definition) describing Google's XML format. The DTD is a guide to help search administrators and XML parsers understand the XML results output. Because Google's XML grammar may change from time to time, do not configure your parser to use the DTD to validate the XML results.

XML parsers should not be configured to fetch the DTD every time a search request is performed. Because the DTD is updated infrequently, these fetches create unnecessary delay and bandwidth requirements.

To get results in XML output format, use one of the following parameters in the search request:
output=xml_no_dtd (recommended), or
output=xml
When you use the xml output format, the XML results include the line:

<!DOCTYPE GSP SYSTEM "google.dtd">

The DTD is available on the Google Search Appliance at http://<appliance_hostname>/google.dtd.
Google XML Tag Definitions

This section contains an index of Google's XML tags.
Subtags Legend

? = zero or one instance of the subtag
* = zero or more instances of the subtag
+ = one or more instances of the subtag
| = Boolean OR

 

Appendix A: Estimated vs. Actual Number of Results

The Google search engine does not guarantee the ability to return a particular number of results for any given search query. The total count of results is an estimate of the actual number of results for the search request. This section covers issues relating to this topic.
Counting Results in Secure Search

The total count of search results is not provided when a secure search is performed, regardless of which type of output format, XML or HTML, is used. A secure search request includes the parameters access=a or access=p.
How Number of Results Returned is Determined

When search results are returned, the number of results is determined by one of the following conditions:
If Google has results to satisfy the search request, then the requested number of results are returned.
If Google has fewer results than the number requested in the search request, the last page of results is returned. The last page is determined by dividing the total number of results into pages based on the number of results requested.
If no results are found, then an empty result set is returned.

To determine if a results page is the last page of available results, check for any of the following conditions:
The first result number returned does not match the first result number requested.
The number of results returned is less than the number of results requested.
The results returned do not contain a link to the next result set.
Navigation

When the total number of results returned is an estimate, the navigation structure for search results is based on this estimate. Google recommends two approaches for generating a navigation scheme for your search results:
Only provide the search user with the ability to navigate to the previous results page and the next results page. The output format can be configured to provide links to the previous and next result set when appropriate.
Provide the search user with the ability to jump to any search page within the estimated number of results. If the user requests a results page beyond which results are actually available, the last results page is returned. The navigation structure is updated when the last page is displayed. This is the behavior you see in the default output of the Google Search Appliance.
Automatic Filtering

When the automatic filtering feature is active, the number of results returned is significantly reduced. Automatic filtering reduces undesirable results such as duplicate entries. You can disable this feature using the instructions in the Automatic Filtering section.

Filtered search results are identified in the returned results. For example, the <FI/> XML tag is present in XML search results where automatic document filtering occurs.

Google recommends that the search results page displays a message on the last page similar to the following, when automatic filtering occurs:

In order to show you the most relevant results, we have omitted some entries very similar to the search results already displayed. If you like, you can repeat the search with the omitted results included.

This is the behavior you see in the default output format of the Google Search Appliance.

The underlined text in the message should be a hypertext link to submit the same search again with the parameter filter=0. Google finds that this method of informing users about automatic document filtering is effective. This method is used on the Google Internet search site.

If you are using OneBox modules to provide additional query results to your users, note that the results served through a OneBox module are reported separately. The number of OneBox results are not added to the number of standard results.


Appendix B: URL Encoding

Some characters are not safe to use in a URL without first being encoded. Because a Google search request is made by using an HTTP URL, the search request must follow URL conventions, including character encoding, where necessary.

The HTTP URL syntax defines that only alphanumeric characters, the special characters $-_.+!*'(), and the reserved characters ;/?:@=& can be used as values within an HTTP URL request. Since reserved characters are used by the search engine to decode the URL, and some special characters are used to request search features, then all non-alphanumeric characters used as a value to an input parameter must be URL encoded.

To URL-encode a string:
Replace space characters with a "+" character
Replace each non-alphanumeric character by its hexadecimal ASCII value, in the format of a "%" character followed by two hexadecimal digits. (Such an ASCII value may be referred to as an escape code.)

Some input parameters require that the values passed to Google search are double-URL-encoded. This requirement means that you must apply the URL encoding to the string twice in succession to generate the final value. See the input parameter descriptions for more information.

Note: For more information about URL encoding, see W3C and IETF web sites.
ExamplesOriginal String URL-Encoded String
chicken -teriyaki chicken+%2Dteriyaki
admission form site:www.stanford.edu admission+form+site%3Awww.stanford.edu

Original String Doubly URL-Encoded String
William Shakespeare William%2BShakespeare
admission form site:www.stanford.edu admission%2Bform%2Bsite%253Awww.stanford.edu

Glossary

This glossary contains basic descriptions of acronyms and terms found in this document.

Admin Console - The administrative interface to the Google Search Appliance.

Appliance - The term "appliance" is used to refer to either the Google Search Appliance or the Google Mini.

Cached result - As part of its core technology, Google indexes all the content on a page, rather than just a portion of the content or just meta tags. Each indexed page can be served in a cached HTML format (up to 4 million bytes of each document before HTML conversion). When a user views a cached document, each query term is highlighted in a different color, making the query terms easy to see. Cached pages are always available for view, even if the server where the live content is stored is slow or unresponding.

Collection - A collection is a subset of the complete document index. Collections are useful for allowing refined or advanced searches, for limiting access to classified information, for group-level security, for language-specific queries and for many other applications. Collections are configured in the Admin Console.

DTD - Document Type Definition. The purpose of a DTD is to define the legal building blocks of an XML document. It defines the XML document structure with a list of legal elements.

Encoding Scheme - Each language has an official encoding scheme which is used to represent all of the language's characters in an 8-bit data stream format. Google search uses encoding schemes to determine how to translate incoming and outgoing search requests.

Front End - A Front End governs the look of a collection's search page and search results, and allows specific synonyms, filters, and keymatches for that collection. Front ends are configured in the Admin Console.

KeyMatch - KeyMatch is a feature that allows the search administrator to designate specific web pages to appear at the top of the results page for specific queries. This feature is configured in the Admin Console.

Meta Tags - HTML tags that can be specified within an HTML document and that are not displayed to the end user, but which may contain information about the document. Google search uses some meta tags to enhance and filter search results when requested.

MIME - Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions. The MIME type of a web document (or search result) identifies the format of the document it is associated with. Some sample MIME types include "text/html" for HTML documents, and "application/ms-word" for Microsoft Word documents.

Query - (or Search Query) A string of one or more query terms that is submitted to Google search. The results returned satisfy all the query terms by default.

Query term - A single term in a query. A single query term cannot contain any spaces or punctuation.

Related Queries - The search administrator can designate terms (such as synonyms) for the Google Search Appliance to suggest to users as related queries. Related queries are based on the query terms entered by the user. This feature is configured in the Admin Console > Serving section.

Search Request - An HTTP GET command issued to the appliance that includes parameters describing the query and returns the results of the search.

UTF-8 - Unicode Transformation Format (8-bit). UTF-8 is a Unicode based encoding scheme for describing language data by representing the data using 8-bit codes. Google search uses UTF-8 to support multiple languages simultaneously.

Web Directory - Files on a web server stored in a directory.

XML - eXtensible Markup Language. XML is a markup language, similar to HTML, which was designed to describe data. The tags used in XML are not pre-defined, and are described by a DTD or the data provider.

XSL - eXtensible Stylesheet Language. XSL is a language that is designed to describe how an XML document should be displayed. XSL is used to transform results from XML format into custom HTML output.

XSLT - XSL Transformation. XSLT describes the process of transforming an XML document into another format. The search administrator can use XSLT stylesheets to customize the look and feel of the search results pages.


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