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What to look for in your site’s search

What to look for in your site’s search

The sheer volume of content produced nowadays makes it critical for both public websites and intranets to come with highly relevant search capabilities.

As a result, today's enterprise search tools take synonyms into consideration, offer spelling suggestions, let site administrators manage weighted metadata, provide in-context search term highlighting, and rely on stop-words and stemming techniques to strip unnecessary "noise" from queries.

Are you looking for Google-like search features that enhance web visitors' usability?

The most popular tools we use to customize search results are:

  • In-context search term highlighting
  • Stemming (extends a search to cover grammatical variations on a word)
  • Stopwords (such as "the", "and", "maybe", etc.)
  • Automatic completion of search terms
  • Spelling suggestions
  • Synonym suggestions
  • Keyword boosting/weighting
  • Context restrictions (confines the search to a specific area of the site)

At Six Feet Up, we have a lot of practice in tailoring our clients' online search experience. Some of the additional search customizations we have performed include:

  • Altering search mechanisms to influence the calculation of search relevancy and bring back specific content.
  • Tweaking the online search machinery to focus on specific data fields.
  • Customizing the search engine of a large pharmaceutical group's website aimed at healthcare professionals to give visitors quick answers to their questions, and abide by regulatory rules.
  • Making custom search features available to subsets of web visitors based on both content workflow states and user's role.
  • Customizing the number of search results allowed to return depending on the user's permissions.
  • Changing the search results' order based on relevance, content type, title and last modified date.
  • Ensuring that a specific content type is always returned first in the search results list.
  • Enabling administrators to control which metadata is deemed more relevant for search result order.
  • Deploying advanced search interface to give site visitors the ability to filter down their results.
  • Providing a limited set of filters for specific user types.
  • Allowing users to perform full-text searches of files, such as PDFs and Microsoft Office documents.

The goal is always to improve the accuracy and relevance of individual searches, as well as reduce the amount of time required to search for resources.

We have been using Solr and Elasticsearch to help our clients enhance online search. These tools are both based on the Lucene search engine and give you all the flexibility to create the search experiences listed above.

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