The Swiftype Blog

City governments: Better serve your citizens through intuitive website search

Providing critical information to your citizens

As a city government, you’re a critical source of information for your citizens. Whether you’re a small city of 15,000 people or a metropolis with millions of people, you’re relied on to keep track of your city’s records and make them easily accessible to your citizens.

On a daily basis, citizens come to you with questions about city codes, community events, utilities and many other things that impact their lives. Although there’s a few ways that people can get this information, it’s likely that many of them prefer to get it from your website.

After all, what do you do when you want to find out who won the game last night or who the mayor of Cleveland is? You fire up your web browser, go to your favorite search engine and search for it. Almost instantly, you have your answer.

Search as a window for information

These days, websites are a major source of knowledge and search is an excellent interface for accessing information and getting the answers we need. But sometimes, we forget that we can apply advanced search technology to our government websites so that our citizens can quickly get their questions answered, regardless of who they are and what they’re looking for.

At Swiftype, we specialize in building relevant site search technology and making it incredibly easy to set up on your website. We feel quite fortunate to be working with some innovative cities like Wilson and Portland and we wanted to highlight their Swiftype success stories.

 

City of Wilson (NC) + Swiftype

The City of Wilson is situated in the heart of eastern North Carolina and prides itself on innovation and service excellence as it serves its 50,000 citizens. Know as the birthplace of BB&T, Wilson is about 40 miles east of Raleigh and enjoys a diverse economy based on agriculture, manufacturing, commercial, and service businesses.

During a recent overhaul of the city’s website, Wilson’s IT leadership decided to upgrade their site search technology. After evaluating a few options, the City of Wilson chose to go with Swiftype, citing easy implementation and out-of-the-box relevancy as major drivers of their decision.

External and internal use cases

The City of Wilson actually rolled out Swiftype for both their external, citizen-facing website as well as for their internal departments enabling them to better serve their citizens and boost productivity across their organization. Since implementing Swiftype, the City of Wilson has “gotten great feedback both internally and from citizens”, according to Brandon Evans, a Technical Services Representative for the city.

Here are 3 ways Swiftype Site Search has helped Wilson:

  • Better way to navigate content – Swiftype has allowed citizens and city employees to quickly and easily find the information they need, regardless of what they are looking for
  • Accessibility – The City of Wilson has featured search prominently on their website, directing citizens to utilize the search bar to get their questions answered
  • Analytics – Swiftype’s robust analytics dashboard enables the City of Wilson to see what people are searching for most frequently, what high volume searches are returning no results and what results people are (or are not) clicking on

“Search is very much an early warning system for us” – Will Aycock, General Manager

Hurricane Matthew: How search comes in handy during natural disasters

In October 2016, Hurricane Matthew made landfall in the Southeastern United States after causing severe damage in the Caribbean nations of Haiti, Cuba, and the Bahamas. As the storm closed in on the North Carolina Coastline, citizens from Wilson turned to wilsonnc.org to give them answers about for flood prevention materials, roadway hazards, and other information on storm-related city services. Although Wilson is about 100 miles from the Coastline, the city was still expected to receive high winds and lots of rain.

Using search analytics to identify and pinpoint issues

As the storm closed in, Swiftype’s real-time search analytics gave the City of Wilson early insights into potential issues and helped them to identify what was important to citizens. As Wilson saw people searching for critical time-sensitive information like street closures, they were sure to keep their website up-to-date. Since Swiftype quickly indexes new content and updates your search engine, the City could be confident that its citizens had access to accurate information so they could avoid flooded areas.

As more and more flood-related search queries rolled in, the City of Wilson decided to build a dedicated app to show which streets were flooded. The app, which was built in response to data from the Swiftype analytics dashboard, proved to be a huge help to citizens.

 

City of Portland (OR) + Swiftype

With a population well over 600,000, Portland is the largest city in Oregon. Over the past 20 years, Portland has seen a significant boom in the the technology and creative marketing industries and its GDP per person has grown by 50%. In 2015, Oregon was the most popular moving destination, according to United Van Lines.

Replacing Google Site Search with Swiftype

Richard Davies, a web application developer for the City of Portland, recently replaced an installation of Google Site Search with Swiftype. Turning to Swiftype as a turn-key solution to replace the sunsetting Google Site Search product, the City of Portland was able to get up and running with Swiftype in about an hour.

“Swiftype Site Search is very easy to use and I was able to implement the basic search functionality in about an hour.” – Richard Davies, Web Application Developer for the City of Portland

Portland was excited to test out the advanced features of Swiftype including drag-and-drop results ranking, custom weighting and synonym groups. After using Swiftype for a few months, Richard and his team grew appreciative of our relevant results, support team, and robust documentation. Overall, the City of Portland has found Swiftype to be a powerful and full-featured site search solution that meets the needs of their citizens.

Getting started with Swiftype Site Search

To get started with Swiftype, you just enter your website’s address and Swiftype will index your site and create your search engine in real-time. No coding is required, but developers can use the API for extra control. Swiftype can index any amount of content and new content is indexed automatically, so your search is always up-to-date.

A free trial makes trying Swiftype risk free

Want to try out Swiftype Site Search for your website? You can sign up for a free trial here.

Building and Architecting a Search Platform on Elasticsearch

In case you haven’t heard, Swiftype has recently joined forces with Elastic, the makers of popular open source products such as Elasticsearch, Kibana, Beats, and Logstash. Launched during the Y Combinator Winter 2012 Batch by Matt Riley and Quin Hoxie, Swiftype has been an early adopter of Elasticsearch — leveraging the technology to revolutionize the way people find information across their organization and on public facing websites and applications.

Since our founding in 2012, we’ve added many popular features to our Site Search product including drag-and-drop results ranking, weighting and a robust analytics dashboard. Along our journey, we’ve been fortunate to serve customers like Lyft, Cloudflare, Twilio, AT&T, Qualcomm, Duke University, and TechCrunch. In working with these incredible organizations and thousands of others, we’ve been able to continually improve our product offerings and provide best-in-class hosted search for use cases of any scope and scale.

So how did we get here? Join us on November 29 for a live webinar and learn how Swiftype was able to scale and build a search platform with Elastic’s open source products. Swiftype founders and newest members of the Elastic team will conduct a presentation on building a robust search solution (and company) on top of the Elastic Stack.

Swiftype Site Search Analytics

Matt and Quin will go over the following topics:

  • Architectural approach to building a SaaS search solution
  • Scaling to support 100s of thousands of search engines across 10s of thousands of customers.
  • Upgrading to the latest versions of Elasticsearch and tips to minimize downtime
  • How Swiftype simplified the power and complexity of Elasticsearch to give control to non-technical stakeholders
  • Leveraging Kibana and Logstash to monitor and analyze IT operations and customer support

Webinar Details:

Date: Wednesday, November 29, 2017
Time: 9 a.m. PST / 12 p.m. EST / 5 p.m. GMT/ 6 p.m. CET
Featured Speakers: Matt Riley and Quin Hoxie

Swiftype Crawler overview: Easily index your website content for search

Why use the Swiftype Web Crawler?

Easily index your website content for search

The Swiftype web crawler, Swiftbot, is a quick and easy way to index your website’s content for search. While you can also index your content using the Swiftype API, utilizing the web crawler requires less technical know-how and generally enables you to implement your site search faster. If you’re trying to decide whether to use the crawler or the API, check out this blog post written by Swiftype cofounder Quin Hoxie.

Swiftype’s crawler gathers and indexes data from your specific website in a similar manner to the way Google crawls data for its internet-wide search engine. To get started with the Swiftype crawler, you simply input your website’s URL and Swiftype will begin indexing your content. Once your website has been crawled, you can use the Swiftype dashboard to review your indexed content, customize your search results, and view analytics.

Getting started with the Swiftype Web Crawler

Here’s a quick overview of how to get started with the Swiftype web crawler. For additional information, check out our Crawler Quick Start Documentation.

Create your search engine

To use the Swiftype crawler, you will first need to create a new search engine in your Swiftype dashboard and then enter your site’s URL. Still need to create a Swiftype account? You can sign up here.

Preview your search engine before implementation

After your URL has been verified, Swiftype will begin indexing your website’s content. If you have a sitemap, Swiftype will use it as a starting point for crawling your site. When all of your content has been indexed and your search engine is ready, Swiftype will notify you with an email. If you would like to test out your search engine before implementing it on your site, you can preview your search experience directly from the Swiftype dashboard.

Installing a search box on your website

When you’re ready to install a search bar on your website, you can copy and paste the code given to you in the Swiftype dashboard.

Customizing the look and feel of your search

Since it’s likely that you’ll want your search UI to match the design of the rest of your website, Swiftype makes it easy to customize the appearance of your search bar and results container. To customize your search installation, simply click the “Edit Install Setup” or “Edit Appearance” cards under the “Customize Your Installation” portion of the Swiftype onboarding flow.

As you experiment with the look and feel of your search, you can preview your changes in the Swiftype dashboard (before pushing your changes live). For more information on configuring the look and feel of your search engine, check out this video tutorial.

Indexing new website content

After Swiftype has indexed your content and you’ve implemented your search engine on your website, Swiftype will continue reindexing your content according to your plan level. If you make changes to your website and would like to manually trigger a recrawl, you can do so from the Swiftype dashboard.

Customizing your crawl

Provide direction to the Swiftype web crawler

By default, Swiftype will index your entire website (up to page limit of your plan). In order to optimize the search experience on your website, it’s likely that you will need to customize how the Swiftype crawler indexes the content on your site. For example, you may want to exclude certain pages or portions of pages on your website from being indexed by your search engine. 

How to customize your crawl

When it comes to customizing how Swiftype indexes your website content, you have a few options.

Excluding/Including portions of your site:

  • Domain path exclusions – Use the Swiftype dashboard to whitelist and/or blacklist portions of your website
  • Robots.txt rules – Swiftype will adhere to the rules set in your robots.txt file
  • Robots meta tag – Swiftype will adhere to the rules set in your robots meta tag

Excluding/including portions of a page (such as header and footer):

Use meta tags to explicitly set what data is extracted from a page (override default crawler settings):

  • Meta tags – Deliver structured information to the Swiftype web crawler and determine what content on your pages will be made searchable
  • Body-embedded data attribute tags – If you’d prefer to set what data will be indexed inside the body of your pages (rather than using meta tags), you can add special html tags to your existing source code

Additional information:

Swiftype Joins Forces with Elastic

We are thrilled today to announce that Swiftype is joining forces with Elastic, the makers of Elasticsearch. This new alliance will accelerate the development of new features and tools that will make it easier for you to manage and deploy world-class search functionality to your website or organization. The Swiftype product suite will continue to serve our existing and future customers, and we could not be more excited for the road ahead. The full copy of our joint announcement (also available on the Elastic blog) follows:

A note from Shay Banon, CEO at Elastic

I am thrilled to announce that Swiftype is joining forces with us. Swiftype is the creator of a highly-regarded, popular SaaS-based Site Search product and a newly launched Enterprise Search product. Meet Matt and Quin in a Swiftype webinar coming up on November 29.

Some of you may be wondering, why is a company focused on building SaaS search applications joining forces with a search technology company?

As I’ve said, I’ve always viewed ‘search’ as a wonderful foundation to solve many different use cases, whether it is search embedded in an application; search used for logging, security, or metrics; or search being used to create a whole set of new applications and products. Well, Swiftype did this. They built an entire company focused on making it simple for users to put a search box on their websites or within their applications and an enterprise search product for organizations to manage disparate content from various web applications.

Swiftype’s first product is Site Search. If you go to websites like Asana, Shopify, SurveyMonkey, and TechCrunch, that’s the Swiftype Site Search product powering the search box experience. And under the hood of Site Search, is Elasticsearch. In fact, Swiftype has been using Elasticsearch for a long time, since Elasticsearch version 0.90 for indexing and storing searchable content. Like so many other successful SaaS companies do, Swiftype created an amazing user interface and a lot of infrastructure around Elasticsearch to provide an incredible SaaS-first Site Search experience. I’m excited to announce that Site Search will be offered with a new introductory subscription plan starting at $79/month (explore with a free trial). This will allow customers to grow at their own pace. In addition, Swiftype’s Site Search also provides an ideal migration path for Google Site Search (GSS) customers.

Earlier this year, Swiftype released its second product, Swiftype Enterprise Search. This product has web crawlers and out-of-the-box connectors to cloud applications like Atlassian, Box, Dropbox, Github, Google Apps, Microsoft Outlook, Salesforce, Slack, Zendesk, and an API to build custom connectors. With the EOL of traditional enterprise search products like GSA (Google Search Appliance), Swiftype Enterprise Search meets the needs of today’s modern organization using many cloud-based shared and private content repositories. Effective immediately, Swiftype’s Enterprise Search product will be available as a beta via trial request. As we move towards making it GA, our combined engineering teams will integrate more capabilities of the Elastic Stack and X-Pack into this product, as well as make this product available as both a SaaS service and on-premise solution.

I’d like to welcome the entire Swiftype team, customers and community to the Elastic family. It’s really exciting that Swiftype’s founders — Matt Riley and Quin Hoxie — and the Swiftype team are joining us to further extend our vision to offer tailored solutions on top of the Elastic Stack.

Now some words from Swiftype’s founders.


A note from Matt Riley and Quin Hoxie

Swiftype set out to build a cloud-based search platform that dramatically simplified the process of creating powerful, high-quality search experiences. With the ever-growing amount of content published on the web, and with consumers expecting intuitive search tools, the need for world-class search capabilities is greater than ever before for businesses of all sizes. Our ongoing goal has been to stay ahead of this need by delivering incredible search for any team, technically savvy or not.

When we began designing our own infrastructure, we made an early bet on Elasticsearch as a foundational technology in our system — and it turned out to be a good one. Elasticsearch not only powers our primary search functionality, but has also grown to support a wide variety of other product and operational use cases. Suffice to say, we have been power users of Elasticsearch for almost as long as is possible, and we’re thrilled to now be part of this incredible team spearheading the next wave of innovation in search.

It quickly became obvious when meeting the team at Elastic that it was a special company, and as we learned more about Shay’s vision for the future, we were confident that we had found an amazing partner in the pursuit of our mission. As part of Elastic we could not be more excited to continue innovating with the Swiftype product suite and delivering an amazing service to our customers around the world.

Swiftype API overview: Customize your search engine

Why use the Swiftype API?

The Swiftype API gives you full control over your search engine

The Swiftype API gives you full control over the schema of your search engine and the content that you index. With the Swiftype API endpoints, you are able to index data, execute search queries, and access rich analytics.

When you use the Swiftype API to index content for your search engine, you can still use the Swiftype Dashboard to fine-tune the relevancy of your search engine. With the Swiftype Dashboard, you can re-rank search results on a query-by-query basis, adjust the weights placed on each of your data fields, and set synonyms.

Swiftype REST API and Client Libraries

Swiftype’s API is a JSON-based REST API, making it easy to use with a JSON parser and HTTP client. Swiftype also supports a read-only public API with JSON, so you can execute cross-domain search requests instead of tunneling through your server. Furthermore, if you’d prefer to interact with your Swiftype search engine via a client library, we currently support libraries for:

Getting started with the Swiftype API

Here’s a quick overview of how to get started with the Swiftype API. For more detailed information, check out our API Quick Start Documentation.

Create a schema that fits your data model

Your schema will determine what content Swiftype will index and how it will be configured for search. When designing your schema, you’ll need to create a Document Type for each set of Documents that you wish to make searchable.

From a high level, you’ll design your schema for each set of Documents by determining which data fields to index and what types they should be. Then, you’ll create a Document Type to hold the set of Documents that will conform to the schema you’ve designed.

For more information, check out our Schema Design Tutorial.

Perform an initial content index

When you’re ready to start indexing your content, you can use a few different bulk operations to get your data flowing to Swiftype.

Indexing a very large number of documents? Consider using the Swiftype asynchronous indexing API.

Update Swiftype documents when your database is updated

When an item in your database changes, you’ll need to update it in Swiftype so that your search engine stays up-to-date.

In general, the approach to using the Swiftype API will follow this pattern: perform a create_or_update request when content is saved and a delete request when content is removed (or hidden).

Building your search UI

When you use the Swiftype API, the standard embed install code for implementing search on your website is not available because it doesn’t work with custom Document Types. Therefore, you’ll need to implement search using the Swiftype Search jQuery plugin which is written to be flexible based on your specific use-case. To get started with the plugin, you will need to have at least three elements on your page: a form, an input field within the form, and a container for results.

Key API Endpoints and Public API

Key API Endpoints:

  • Search – The search endpoints enable you to search an entire engine or a single Document Type and customize the search query that you execute.
  • Autocomplete – The Autocomplete endpoint supports nearly all of the same options as the search endpoint, but performs prefix matches on fields rather than token matching.
  • Indexing – Once you’ve created your search engine and set up your schema, you can index your data using the Indexing endpoints. Note that you’ll have to keep your Swiftype engine up-to-date by hitting the Swiftype API whenever your database is updated.
  • Analytics – The Analytics endpoints allow you to extract and record analytics information from a search engine. These endpoints provide the same analytics details that are available in the Swiftype dashboard.

Read-only Public API

In addition to the private API which is secured with your API key, Swiftype supports a read-only public API that uses your Search Engine’s Engine Key. The public API is read-only, so it is appropriate for using from client-side JavaScript or a mobile app where you do not want to expose your read-write API key.

 

Have questions or interested in learning more about Swiftype Site Search? Head over to the Swiftype Community Forum.

Dreamforce Sessions: Connect Salesforce to your Universe of Cloud Apps

There are so many amazing things happening at this year’s Dreamforce! From 3,200+ sessions (including a keynote with Former First Lady Michelle Obama) to the Dreamfest concert featuring Alicia Keys and Lenny Kravitz, you know it’s going to be another memorable week of fun and learning with your fellow Trailblazers!

As you know, Swiftype is excited to sponsor Dreamforce for the first time this year. Our team will be at the Customer Success Expo to show you how your company can boost sales productivity and customer engagement by connecting Salesforce to your universe of cloud apps with Swiftype’s AI-powered search.

As you are mapping out your agenda, be sure to catch one of our 20-minute Partner Theater Sessions, featuring Jonas Lavoie (@iamjll), from Swiftype’s product management team.

Connect Your Universe: Search, Explore and Discover Salesforce Data and Beyond

Use Swiftype Enterprise Search to search across all your cloud data sources and deliver AI-powered, highly-relevant results in a single search experience all without leaving your Salesforce environment.

Date: Monday, November 6
Time: 2:00 p.m. – 2:20 p.m
Location: Moscone South, Partner Theater 4
Bookmark Session

Date: Wednesday, November 8
Time: 2:30 p.m. – 2:50 p.m
Location: Moscone South, Partner Theater 4
Bookmark Session

Search that works: Salesforce Communities, Websites and Beyond

Create custom and powerful website search with Swiftype, thanks to seamless indexing, best-in-class relevance, and intuitive customization features. Get the control and insights you’ve always wanted from your search.

Date: Tuesday, November 7
Time: 10:30 a.m. – 10:50 a.m
Location: Moscone South, Partner Theater 4
Bookmark Session

 

Can’t make the sessions? Come by and see us at booth #1928

 

How to add advanced search to WordPress and other CMS’s

Businesses need advanced search for their CMS’s

Content management systems (CMS’s) like WordPress and HubSpot make it easy to create and manage content including landing pages, blog posts, and other types of media. In general, CMS’s provide a robust platform that can be implemented with much less technical expertise than a system built in-house.

Navigating CMS’s with lots of content

CMS’s are great platforms for enabling you to create and publish content, but they can become difficult for visitors to navigate once you have published a lot of content.

Take a moment to think about how website visitors land on your site and how they navigate around once they are there. If a visitor didn’t come to your site by directly entering your URL in their web browser, they probably found your content through social media or a Google search.

Once a visitor consumes the content that they originally visited your website for, are they able to easily find other relevant content pieces? It’s likely that you have a header or sidebar menu for the visitor to find additional content but do you also have a search box?

If you have advanced search implemented on your website, visitors have a single window into all of your content.

Site search keeps visitors on your site and gives you insight about their interests

It’s important to have a search box on your CMS website because visitors who utilize in-site search are high intent. They trust your website enough to explicitly search for content, and they’re expecting relevant results. If you have advanced search implemented on your website, visitors have a single window into all of your content.

Additionally, site search provides you with rich analytics including popular queries, queries that return no results, and CTRs. After reviewing your search analytics, you can optimize your search results and add new content based on queries that are returning no results.

Gain full control over your CMS search

If you’re using out-of-the-box CMS search, your site search might be delivering relevant results. Unfortunately, if it’s not, there’s not much you can do to fine-tune the results. On the other hand, if you add Swiftype Site Search to your CMS, you will have full control over your search experience including the ability to weight certain data fields, re-rank results on a query-by-query basis, and set synonyms.

Swiftype Admin Dashboard

Adding Swiftype Site Search to any CMS

You can use the Swiftype web crawler or API to index your content and make it searchable on your website. If you elect to use the Swiftype web crawler, you can easily optimize content extraction with HTML tags. If you elect to use the Swiftype API to index your data, you will create a search engine schema that makes sense for the data you want to make searchable.

To implement a search UI on your website, you can use the Swiftype Embed Code or our jQuery libraries.

Adding Swiftype Site Search to WordPress (via a plugin)

The Swiftype Site Search WordPress plugin replaces the standard WordPress search with a better, more relevant search engine. It is used by many of the largest WordPress sites (including TechCrunch) and has over 3,000 active installs. 

The Swiftype Site Search plugin doesn’t require coding and takes a minute to install. Swiftype uses the WordPress search results template, so you have total control over the design.

To get started, just create a Swiftype account, copy your API key and paste it into the Swiftype WordPress Plugin. Then you click a button and Swiftype will index your WordPress site. For more advanced use cases, Swiftype supports the WP-CLI.

Additional resources:

Media & Publishing: How TechCrunch, Engadget, and DramaFever boosted engagement with better search technology

Engagement, engagement, engagement

As a media company, you live and die on the level of engagement that your content generates. If people are digging your content, you’re happy because your hard work is getting exposure and the advertiser dollars are rolling in. On the other hand, if you don’t produce engaging content or your website visitors can’t find what they’re looking for, people will move on to other, more interesting websites.

The struggle for website visitors is real

Getting people to consistently visit your website is no easy task. First you have to create interesting content and then you have to distribute it, reaching your audience through increasingly competitive channels. To push out new content and drive traffic to your site, it’s likely that you’re active on social media channels like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Additionally, you probably use daily or weekly email newsletters to send out content to your reader bases. If you’re utilizing other distribution channels and they’re working, then more power to you.

Keeping visitors on your site

Once someone is on your website and they have finished consuming the content they originally visited your website for, they will likely take one of the following actions:

  • Click a link in the nav bar, usually from a dropdown
  • Click on a recommended article on the side panel or bottom of the page
  • Go to the search bar and enter exactly what they’re looking for (history of Facebook, blockchain, AI, etc.)
  • Exit your website

Site search as an engagement tool

When a visitor decides to use the search bar, will they find what they’re looking for? It’s important that your site search delivers relevant results as visitors who utilize this feature are trusting you to help them find specific information.

Since website visitors who utilize search are relying on you to deliver, great site search is not just a nice-to-have. It’s a critical website feature that is utilized by your biggest fans and most engaged users. You don’t want to let them down by providing a poor search experience.

Search analytics help you to better understand your audience

In addition to contributing to the user experience of your website, site search is a source of valuable data that informs you of your visitors’ interests and whether you have the content they are looking for.

Learn from TechCrunch, Engadget, and DramaFever

Are you looking for a way to boost engagement on your media website? Here are some ways that TechCrunch, Engadget, and DramaFever used search to increase overall page views, increase ad revenue, and better understand their visitors.

 

TechCrunch

Since its founding in 2005, TechCrunch has become the leading source for technology news. Today the website, which is now owned by Oath, attracts tens of thousands of visitors on a daily basis, with hundreds of new articles being published each week.

How TechCrunch uses Swiftype Site Search:

  • TechCrunch’s search stays up-to-date as new content is indexed automatically
  • TechCrunch has implemented faceted search so visitors can easily toggle between most relevant and most recent filters for results. As you can see, the Swiftype Search UI can be completely customized to match the design of your website.
  • TechCrunch uses the powerful Swiftype admin dashboard to customize search results on a query-by-query basis, enabling them to promote content and ensure readers are finding the best content. This feature is particularly helpful in the lead up to TechCrunch’s annual Disrupt conference, as it allows the TechCrunch staff to feature promotional content and drive more publicity around the event.

Key Results after implementing Swiftype:

  • Search volume increased by 30% on the TechCrunch website, causing a noticeable increase in overall website page views, in the first month after launch
  • TechCrunch saw their search exit rate decrease by nearly 50%, meaning their search results began to match user expectations and dramatically increased conversion rates

 

Engadget

Since 2004, Engadget has exhaustively covered cutting edge devices and the technology that powers them. More than ten years after their founding, Engadget, which is now owned by Oath, receives around 1M daily visitors and publishes more than 150 articles every week.

“When we launched Swiftype search, our staff was finally able to control results, relevance, and more all through an app. It was great. We couldn’t find that anywhere else.” – Jose del Corral, Head of Product at Engadget

How Engadget uses Swiftype Site Search:

  • Engadget is able to crawl all of their content by using Swiftype’s web crawler, Swiftbot
  • Engadget automatically keeps their search results up-to-date and free of duplicates
  • They use Swiftype’s drag-and-drop results ranking feature to customize results and promote content
  • Each week, the team looks at the top search queries to gain insight about what their readers are interested in, along with the top searches that return no results

Key Results after implementing Swiftype:

  • 18% increase in pageviews coming from search results
  • Site wide increase in average time on site

DramaFever

DramaFever is a Warner Brothers-owned online video site for the distribution of international televised content. Their current library is comprised of over 13,000 episodes from 60 content partners across 12 countries.

According to DramaFever’s data from NewRelic, Swiftype’s API ranks among the fastest that they integrate with.

How DramaFever uses Swiftype Site Search:

  • To index their content, DramaFever uses the Swiftype API
  • DramaFever relies on data points in the Swiftype weekly analytics emails to determine what new media they should add to the site and what media to feature on their home page

Key Results after implementing Swiftype:

  • Since Swiftype search has built-in mobile functionality, DramaFever was able to increase mobile engagement
  • According to DramaFever’s data from NewRelic, Swiftype’s API ranks among the fastest that they integrate with
  • DramaFever saw a 21% increase in total page views, drastically enhancing their value proposition to advertisers

Getting started with Swiftype Site Search

To get started with Swiftype, you just enter your website’s address and Swiftype will index your site and create your search engine in real-time. No coding is required, but developers can use the API for extra control. Swiftype can index any amount of content and new content is indexed automatically, so your search is always up-to-date.

A free trial makes trying Swiftype risk free

Want to try out Swiftype Site Search for your website? You can sign up for a free trial here.

5 Ways Your Company Can Improve Customer Experience

Retaining customers is hard

Getting customers to try your product is really hard. Retaining them as happy customers year after year might be even more difficult.

“Our customers are loyal to us right up until the second somebody offers them a better service” – Jeff Bezos

When a customer uses your product, whether it’s an HR platform like Gusto, an internal messaging platform like Slack or a marketplace like Uber, they are going to have certain expectations about how it should look, work, and feel. When a customer lands on your product’s home page for the first time, the clock starts ticking for you to make your mark and retain them as a long-term customer.

Great customer experience leads to increased retention

A great framework for thinking about customer retention is customer experience. What do people think about when they hear your company’s name? Would they recommend your product to their friends? Optimizing the customer experience that your company provides will help you to improve retention and boost revenue. When thinking about providing a better customer experience, there are many different customer touch points you can work to improve. Here are 5 ways you can improve customer experience at your company.

1 – Simple customer onboarding

Drive new users to your core features

A new customer has just signed up for your product. Your goal is to quickly help them to realize the core value of your product so they will incorporate it into their workflow or daily life. According to CloudLock, there are 150,000+ unique apps used by their 10 million users at over 750 companies. With so many apps on the market, you only have a short window of time to prove your product’s value to your new customer.

In order to help your customer understand the key benefits of your app, you should have a simple onboarding flow. You should be very strategic with your onboarding flow and not walk through too many of your features as this may overwhelm a new user. Your onboarding flow should highlight your key features and encourage users to take actions that you know lead to retention. You can use a tool like WalkMe or Appcues to easily add in-app onboarding flows to your product.

Img via Appcues

Furthermore, you can send new customers emails or other notifications to nudge them towards taking specific actions. For example, a project management app might send you an email with instructions for creating your first project and inviting teammates to collaborate.

Don’t rely on your documentation to guide new users

It’s really important to remember that most of your customers are not going to read the documentation before they try your product. They’re just going to start using it and expect to learn how it works. By providing in-app onboarding and sending informational emails, you can add structure to your new user experience and boost your retention rate.

2 – Have a well-documented help center with advanced search technology

Customers prefer self-service

According to the HBR, 81% of all customers attempt to take care of matters themselves before reaching out to a live representative. Customers want to be able to help themselves, but all too often, companies do not enable customers to find what they need on their own.

Companies like Asana, Twilio, SurveyMonkey and Lyft have invested in creating high-quality customer knowledge bases and then making them accessible with advanced search technology. At Swiftype, we work with these companies and others to provide search technology that integrates with their help center platforms and enables effective self-service customer support. 

Resolve support tickets before they happen

Some companies that use Swiftype have been able to drive down the number of support tickets they are receiving by making their support ticket description field searchable. By suggesting relevant help and documentation to their customers as they file support tickets, companies are able to resolve support tickets before they happen and reduce their overall support load.

Data-driven customer support

Furthermore, using search in your help center enables you to recognize trends in search data. These trends, such as frequently asked questions or questions that return no results, will help you to decide what new support content to create and can also inform your product roadmap.

For more on using search in your help center see:

3 – Have a scaleable system for answering customer questions

What about questions that customers can’t find the answer for in your help center? Whether they issue a support ticket, come in through live chat or send you a tweet, you want to provide consistent and timely answers to their questions.

Img via Front

Give your support team the tools they need to succeed

In order to scale your customer support operations, you need a help desk platform like Help Scout or Zendesk and then a reliable platform for aggregating customer questions from disparate channels like Salesforce Service Cloud or Front. This will help you get the most out of your customer support team by quickly assigning new questions to team members and making sure they don’t duplicate their work.

In general, customers aren’t used to quickly getting helpful answers to their questions. If your company can do this, it will be a huge plus to you customer experience efforts and will positively influence customer perception of your company.

4 – Iterate based on customer feedback (listen to your customers)

“Listen to what your users tell you, improve your product, and then listen again.” – Sam Altman

This is a pretty straightforward tip but one that gets easily overlooked or even dismissed. As you continue iterating on your product, you’ll want to take customer feedback into consideration. Every company knows they should do this; the hard part about listening to customer feedback is deciding how much it should actually influence your product roadmap.

Customer feedback and your product roadmap

When it comes to building new features based on customer feedback, take a look at this post by YC Partner Geoff Ralston: http://blog.geoffralston.com/startup-priorities.

His post focuses on helping resource-constrained startups figure out what to build next, but I think it applies to software companies more widely as it’s very common to be constrained when it comes to developer resources.

Balancing feedback with product vision

Although customer feedback is a valuable tool for shaping product vision, it’s also important to draw some inspiration from other sources. Steve Jobs is well known for saying, “people don’t know what they want until you show it to them” (Source). This makes sense considering he conceived of the iPod which most Apple customers at that time probably would not have thought of, let alone have considered technically possible. So, it’s important to listen to customers but don’t let their feedback steer you away from testing out some big innovations.

As for collecting customer feedback, you should have a system in place for doing so. More on this in tip #5.

5 – Measure customer happiness (so you can keep improving)

Simply put, it’s important to measure customer happiness so you can work to improve it. We all know that it can be difficult to get customers to answer surveys, so you should aim to measure customer happiness in a simple and concise manner.

Easily measure customer happiness and loyalty with Net Promoter Score

One popular way to measure customer happiness is the Net Promoter Score (NPS). NPS is a popular measurement because it’s a single question and research has shown that strong NPS ratings correlates with revenue growth (Source).

Img via Zapier

How NPS works

If you’re unfamiliar with NPS, it is calculated based on the responses to a single question: How likely is it that you would recommend our company/product/service to a friend or colleague? The scoring for this answer is based on a 0 to 10 scale.

Customers who respond with a 9 or 10 are called Promoters and you can expect them to be loyal customers. Customers who respond with a score of 0 to 6 are considered Detractors, and those who respond with a 7 or 8 are labeled as Passives.

NPS is calculated by subtracting the percentage of customers who are Detractors from the percentage of customers who are Promoters. So, if 40% of respondents were Promoters and 15% were Detractors, your company’s NPS is 25.

Other NPS notes:

  • Because many companies measure their NPS score, you can benchmark your score against your industry to get a feel for how you’re doing.
  • As part of your NPS survey, it’s a good idea to ask a follow up question like, “Can you share why you rated us a 6?”
  • Tools for measuring NPS: SurveyMonkey, Promoter.io, Wootric

Getting started with Swiftype

After implementing Swiftype, SurveyMonkey noticed that over 90% of people that visit their help center find the information they’re looking for without contacting a support specialist.

Swiftype Customer Support Search enables companies to quickly help their customers find what they’re looking for. After implementing Swiftype, SurveyMonkey noticed that over 90% of people that visit their help center find the information they’re looking for without contacting a support specialist.

Interested in implementing Swiftype for your help center. You can sign up for a free trial here or learn more on our website here.

Do you use Zendesk for customer service and support tickets? Check out Swiftype for Zendesk.

Dreamforce: Search across all your apps directly from the Salesforce Platform

Data in Salesforce drives our businesses forward

For many of us, Salesforce is where we spend a large amount of our working day. Whether you use Salesforce for CRM, marketing automation or customer support, it’s a critical platform for getting work done.

When it comes to using Salesforce as a sales platform, it’s a resource for staying up to date with leads and closing new business. Salesforce holds the data that helps a company to understand current sales performance and make future revenue projections. This is information that helps to drive a business forward, so having it organized and easily accessible is a big benefit to most companies.

On the Service Cloud side, Salesforce helps companies to maintain high-quality customer service which is a critical ingredient to operating a sustainable business. With Salesforce, customer service representatives are able to interact with customers in a single place, streamlining operations, and helping customers to get answers faster.

Search across all your apps directly from Salesforce

At Swiftype, we recognize the important role that the Salesforce platform plays for many companies, so we’ve built a search tool that makes accessing external content from Salesforce much easier. The Swiftype Browser Extension works alongside you as you work in Salesforce, surfacing relevant content based on account, lead, and opportunity information.

Get a cross-platform view of people, accounts, and other key entities

Swiftype enables you to search every object and field from your Salesforce Clouds (Sales, Service, Communities) and across any other cloud data sources (G suite, Office 365, Box, Dropbox, Slack, Zendesk, Evernote, etc). With Swiftype, you can get a full, cross-platform view of an opportunity or account, which helps you to quickly identify any potential roadblocks and take action.

Complete functionality inside of Salesforce

Furthermore, if you’d like to access Swiftype from a full screen UI inside of Salesforce, you can tab over to that experience. From the full Swiftype Enterprise Search view, you’ll be able to search for files and team members, configure your settings, and see your organization’s recent activity.

Swiftype is an AppExchange Partner

Our Enterprise Search app has been through a qualitative and quantitative review process with Salesforce and has met the highest set of security standards and best practices.

Visit Swiftype at Dreamforce 2017 – booth #1928

Getting started with Swiftype

Swiftype has a connector framework that enables you to connect to all of your cloud data sources with a few clicks. Swiftype gives you the ability to add content sources at an organizational, team and individual level, ensuring you’re searching across the apps that are relevant to your job. By connecting to all of a company’s apps, Swiftype enables organizations to unify their fragmented data and boost productivity.

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