The Swiftype Blog / Month: October 2014

Mastering SEO & SEM with Site Search Data

Consumer interests and behavior are always changing, making the best approach to search engine marketing and optimization a continually moving target. In the face of this uncertainty, the best strategy to adopt is to stay ahead of the curve by forecasting what your target consumers will be searching for in the future. But how can you best make these predictions? and what tools do you have at your disposal to inform these decisions?

live_analytics_2x

The traditional model for making these predictions is, at its core, educated guesswork. Experienced site owners rely on website traffic data or consumer spending habits to anticipate changing seasonal or topical interests, but this strategy places too much focus on past consumer behavior. To stay ahead of the curve, site owners need to tap directly into the pulse of their visitors to understand their real-time needs and wants. One of the easiest and most overlooked ways to find this pulse is by looking at what users are searching for on your website.

analytics

Below are the key pieces of data that site owners should know about user search behavior, paired with suggestions of how to use these analytics to improve search engine optimization and marketing campaigns:

  1. Top searches. What are users searching for most? This data reveals your users’ intent and identifies the most valuable and popular content on your website. Because you know that users are already looking for this content on your site, these top queries should form a central part of your keyword strategy.
  2. Top searches with no results. Where are users hitting dead ends on your site? If a user searches for something but finds no results, they will assume your site doesn’t have what they are looking for and leave your site to find the content elsewhere. The simple solution to this problem is to create content for those queries – a strategy which will not only help users already on your site, but can also improve rankings for long-tail search queries.
  3. Top autocomplete conversions. What are users clicking on before even seeing a full results page? This data gives you a laser focused understanding of what users hope to find when performing particular queries. Harness this data for your search marketing campaigns by using more targeted, page specific keywords.

By tapping into this rich, user generated data, site owners can find a new source of inspiration for their SEO and SEM efforts and ultimately drive increased traffic to their site.

How Agencies & Web Development Firms Can Leverage Swiftype

Agencies and web development firms have a simple goal when developing digital and mobile properties: help develop a digital experience that looks great and works well for the client. When it comes to actually creating a website, developers are always on the lookout for new solutions that both help clients and make their work easier. Internal search is often one of the most time-consuming parts of implementation, and Swiftype provides a powerful solution to create a great search experience for site visitors and an easy implementation process for site developers.

Swiftype_Partners

At Swiftype, we’ve worked with many Agencies and Web Development Firms (including Digitaria,Code And Theory, 10up, Integrity, and Upstatement) who have identified Swiftype as a valuable solution to provide customized, powerful site search implementations. For them, Swiftype is a solution that makes both clients and development firms happy. Here’s why:

For clients:

  • Powerful Search. Swiftype dramatically strengthens a website’s internal search with fast processing, rapid and customizable autocomplete, smart spellcheck, and rich content indexing. This rewarding search experience will quickly satisfy visitors and keep them on the site.
  • User-friendly customization. Swiftype offers rich customization features, allowing non-technical site owners to reconfigure their search relevancy algorithm and custom rank search results all from a user-friendly dashboard.
  • Actionable analytics. The dashboard also provides detailed analytics on what users are searching for, allowing site owners to see what users want most out of the site and where they could expand their offerings.
  • Built for mobile. Swiftype’s search solution is built for any device, and can be easily customized for your client’s mobile site or app. No need to build a separate search engine.

For development agencies:

  • Quick implementation. After our web crawler indexes your client’s site, the install can be done by in less than half an hour by pasting a few lines of HTML into the website’s template. For tighter customization, insert Swiftype’s custom set of <meta> tags to tell our crawler exactly how to index your client’s website. Integration can also be done via our API.
  • Real-time indexing. Our powerful web crawler will detect any changes that your client makes to their website and immediately reindex those pages to impact real-time search results.
  • Focus on aesthetics. Swiftype’s template frees you from worrying about the back end and allows you to make the search experience and visual appearance look great. Notable examples include Qualcomm, Dr. Pepper, and Harvard Law Review.
  • Analytics. With the client’s permission, you can check Swiftype’s Analytics Dashboard for insights about how clients might improve their website, providing great talking points or presentation materials for quarterly meetings.

We’ve had great success partnering with agencies and web development firms, and we are always interested in hearing from firms that want to work together and receive commissions for Swiftype implementations. If you are interested in working closely with Swiftype to power your clients’ internal search, please get in touch with us—we’d love to see what we can do to help you out. Email us today at [email protected] to get the conversation started.

 

Optimizing Your Site Search with Swiftype Meta Tags

Global Search and Googlebot

When most people think of search, they think of Google. With a fast, intuitive, and highly accurate search engine, Google has become the primary tool for navigating the global web. To deliver such a powerful search experience, Google relies on Googlebot.

Googlebot explores billions of web pages each day, following each link it finds and indexing every page’s content by scanning the HTML and extracting specific elements. While Googlebot is programmed to understand and record standard HTML elements (such as <title>, <h1>, <h2>, <body>,  and so on) Googlebot also understands <meta> tag elements.  Google created these <meta> tags to let site owners provide additional information about a page that may not otherwise be clear from standard tags. As Googlebot scans a page, both <meta> and standard elements are filed in a consistent structure that is optimized for Google’s search engine algorithm, allowing Google to draw upon a richer body of material when delivering results for a particular query.

Internal Search and Swiftbot

When it comes to internal website search, only Swiftype offers a system of <meta> tags to index pages at a similar speed and depth as Googlebot. Most site search providers require some sort of data feed via .xml, .csv or an API to update results—all of which are cumbersome to set up or difficult to maintain. To solve this problem, Swiftype has worked for over two years to build Swiftbot—an extremely powerful web crawler that passes through individual websites and quickly indexes their content. Swiftbot, like Googlebot, understands standard HTML tags, and can also read custom <meta> tags, which allows site owners to create their own system of <meta> tags to completely reconfigure what information they want visitors to discover through search.

For instance, let’s say an ecommerce site wants to let visitors search and sort products by price, color and average review rating. All they need to do is create a <meta> tag for each of these features in the page header:

<head>
  <title>page title | website name</title> 
  <meta class="swiftype" name="name" data-type="string" content="page title" />
  <meta class="swiftype" name="description" data-type="text" content="this is the description" />
  <meta class="swiftype" name="price" data-type="float" content="3.99" />
  <meta class="swiftype" name="color" data-type="string" content="green" />
  <meta class="swiftype" name="review_avg" data-type="integer" content="4.5" />
</head>

With this model, site owners can create as many features as they want Swiftbot to index. Because Swiftbot is programmed to understand and file these <meta> tags when it passes over a page, these elements become central pieces of the site’s data structure and allow site owners to customize search results with faceting and functional boosts.

By offering these custom <meta> tags, Swiftype empowers website owners to tightly control their user search experience and help visitors quickly find the information they need.  Website owners can even see all their extracted metadata from the Swiftype dashboard. For more information on how to format and install Swiftype Meta Tags please follow our documentation. Also, check out how you can use <meta> tags to add multiple values for location attributes.

Click here to get started with Swiftype and create a powerful search engine for your site today.