Is Your Site Trying to Use the Google Search Appliance (GSA)?

Drupal Version

The Georgia Tech Google Search Appliance (GSA) was shut down at the end of December 2016.  If you are running version 2.9 or later of the GT Theme, then you do not need to worry about this, as version 2.9 and later of the them has had everything related to the Google Search Appliance removed.

If you are still running an older version of the theme, then we recommend that you upgrade to version 2.9 if you can.  If for some reason this is not feasible, then you can make sure your site is not trying to use the Google Search Appliance by doing the following:

  1. Visual check:  Select the 'SEARCH' link (shown with a magnifying glass) on your site.  If the drop-down has any checkboxes below the white search text field, then you need to follow the remediation instructions below.
  2. Search check:  If you don't have those checkboxes, then type something into the box and press Enter or Return.  If you are taken directly to Google, then you need to follow the remediation instructions below.

Remediation Instructions

Again, these instructions only apply if you are running Drupal 7 and the GT Theme.

  1. Log into your site as an administrator
  2. Under Appearance (/admin/appearance), locate your site's active theme under the 'Enabled Themes' section. The active theme for your site is indicated by the words '(default theme)'.
  3. Select the Settings link underneath the active theme's name (example: /admin/appearance/settings/gt_subtheme).
  4. Under the Search Options section, choose the Search This Site option.

To give better results when using Drupal 7's native search ability, you need to change the default search configuration settings.

Go to the Search configuration page at Configuration > Search and metadata > Search settings (or /admin/config/search/settings).

Under the Content Ranking section, change the default value of 0 for these settings:

  • Change Keyword relevance to a nice high number, such as 8.
  • Change Recently posted to a slightly lower number, such as 6.

Important Considerations for the Built-in Search Engine

Anyone leveraging Views or a page replacement module (Panels, Display Suite) will want to thoroughly test the local Drupal search engine, as Drupal's default search does not properly query Views.  In short, pages generated by views or Panels / Display Suite will not be cataloged and will not show up in relevant search query results.

On the flip side, just about all published content in any Drupal content type will be cataloged and shown in relevant search query results.  This means that search queries may turn up pages on your site that you have hidden by simply not linking them into any menus nor linking to them from any menu-linked pages.  Searches will also turn up Super Blocks and old GT Carousel image slides as individual content pages.

If this is a concern for you, you may wish to install the Custom Search module, which will allow you to hide content that you do not want showing up in search query results.

After installing Custom Search, navigate to the Configuration > Search and metadata > Custom Search > Content tab (found at admin/config/search/custom_search/content). At the bottom of the page, under the Content exclusion section, check the types of content, such as Super Blocks, that should NOT appear in search results.