The emoji search in OS X is just fine, but if you're looking for something a little smoother, Mojibar is a menubar based emoji app that makes typing in an emoji quick and easy.
Photo: Disk Cactus
Once it's installed, you can load up the app with Ctrl+Shift+Space. From there, you can quickly search through emoji, then drop emojis into text with either the unicode or the emoji code.
Mojibar (Free) [GitHub]