The Swiftype Blog / Month: February 2015

Swiftype for Zendesk

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As we’ve written before, search is a critical tool for self-service support centers. Users who enter the documentation or support section of a website generally have a clearly defined issue in mind, and a powerful search bar provides these users with a clear path to the content they are looking for.

To help more support centers bring great search to their users, Swiftype is excited to announce our integration with Zendesk Help Centers, making it easy for knowledge bases built with Zendesk to deliver the search experience that customers expect. With Swiftype powering search on your Zendesk Help Center, site owners have the power to customize results for individual queries, ensuring that users always find the most helpful content. Furthermore, Swiftype provides detailed analytics on what your users are searching for, providing key insight into user issues and identifying content gaps by populating a list of top queries that return no results.

With these tools and more, site owners can redefine their Help Center user experience by providing powerful and customizable search without the need to consult engineering. Get started by creating account today.

New feature: Live Index Preview tool

Today we are excited to announce a new dashboard feature for site owners with crawler based engines: the Live Index Preview tool. Some of you may have noticed this feature since we rolled it out a month ago, but we announce it today in conjunction with our new meta tags tutorial, which walks site owners through the steps required to implement Swiftype meta tags on your website template.

Now when you log into your Swiftype account and visit the Content tab, you have the ability to compare the live state of your site’s content with what Swiftype presently has indexed for your search engine. To do this, click on the Details button for a page document from your main Content tab view, or look up a specific URL from the search box.

On the Details page, switch from the indexed page overview to the live view by clicking on the bolt icon. Once you switch to live view, you can see what Swiftype currently has indexed in the left column, side by side with your live site offerings in the right column.

Compare your search engine index directly with your live site content with the Live Index Preview tool.

Why is this tool useful? This tool allows site owners to make changes to their site (modifying content or adding custom meta tags) and immediately see how their index will change during the next recrawl. Furthermore, from the Options drop down it’s possible to trigger instant recrawls of specific pages.

The Live Index Preview enables a much greater degree of flexibility when making changes to your website, allowing you to immediately see the impact of those changes in your search engine index without having to wait for a Swiftype recrawl to take place. To view our new meta tags tutorial, click on the link below.

Improve your site search today with these quick tips

On the modern web, search bars are everywhere. Google, the modern address bar doubling as a search bar, and the prevalence of search tools throughout the web have trained users to expect a search option when they have a clear idea of what they are looking for. This clear idea—intent—makes visitors who use search one of the most valuable online audiences.

The power of Google’s web search and of major internet players’ such as Amazon’s site search often lead to an assumption that all search solutions offer the same experience that your visitors expect. However, if you’ve used many search functions, you know this is not true. While a comprehensive, simple solution to robust site search is the best way to ensure your site doesn’t disappoint your visitors, we’ve put together a list of steps that site owners can take to improve their search experience right away.

  1. Use your search analytics. A search bar is an extremely unfiltered form of customer feedback—a free text box that asks the searcher to type in exactly what they want. This unfiltered feedback should be valued for what it is: a goldmine of analytics on your visitors. Be sure to listen to this feedback, checking for popular searches, searches that return no results, autocomplete selections where applicable, and any other information about what your visitors are looking for. You should then pipe these learnings into your marketing and product strategy. For example, an ecommerce company who sells shoes might notice that their visitors are searching for a brand they do not carry, suggesting that they should consider adding the brand.
  2. Ensure your search is ready for mobile. The share of searches of occurring on mobile websites and in mobile apps is steadily increasing. As users begin to expect their experience to be seamless across their devices, a well-designed and powerful mobile search feature is becoming as important as a desktop search solution. Good mobile search generally includes a prominent, easily accessible search bar, as navigational elements such as breadcrumbs are often difficult to display clearly for mobile visitors. Also, be sure to optimize your results page, autocomplete dropdown, and product thumbnails for the smaller screen space available to mobile users.
  3. Feature your search box prominently and intuitively. Visitors who start with search are your most valuable visitors—as much as 70% more likely to convert than those who avoid search. A search indicates a visitor came to the site for a reason, and a strong search experience moves that visitor to their desired destination quickly and painlessly. Featuring search also encourages your visitors to tell you what they are looking for, critical to an effective marketing and product strategy. To encourage searches from your visitors, make sure your search bar is prominent and intuitively located so that your visitors naturally use the feature. For inspiration, we’ve highlighted a few of our favorite search-driven site designs.
  4. Offer autocomplete results. For each additional page a visitor sees on a website, there is an associated visitor drop-off. Offering autocomplete results in a dropdown reduces the time a searcher needs to spend waiting for a results page to load. This streamlined experience will delight your visitors and reduce friction in their experience.
  5. Don’t ignore misspellings. We’ve all made typos when searching for something, either inadvertently or because we don’t know how to spell a tough word. The success of companies such as Google and Amazon in typo tolerance leads the average internet user to expect search tools to protect them from their mistakes. However, most do not come nearly close enough to Google or Amazon in typo protection, causing situations like this:
    Misspellings can cause frustrating no result pages.
    As the screenshot shows, a missed space between words—the most common typo—in a query that should have results can return none. As modern searchers expect typo protection, not accounting for misspellings can lead visitors to believe their intended query has no results, driving them away from your site. Be sure to pay attention to the most common misspellings, and take steps to ensure your visitors do not mistakenly see a no results page.

Many of these issues are best addressed by using a third-party tool that has developed easy tools for managing issues like results reordering, spellcheck, synonyms, and autocomplete. However, each of these issues represent common problems with native search tools, and each can be rapidly improved simply by paying attention to them. We’ll be featuring more tips for improving your search in the future, so be sure to check the blog often. Finally, if you are looking for a solution to each of these issues that you can get up and running quickly, sign up for a Swiftype account and create your first engine.

Swiftype for Desk.com

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Swiftype search is an invaluable tool for self-service support centers. That’s why we’re excited today to announce our integration with Desk.com, making it easy for support centers built on Desk.com to bring powerful search to their users. With Swiftype powering your Desk.com support center search engine, site owners get

  • Detailed analytics. See what users are searching for most to identify common user issues, and see what queries are returning no results to identify gaps in your knowledge base. From there, site owners can create content to address these questions, or use Swiftype’s custom result ranking tool to add in search results for any query they want.
  • Custom result ranking. Drag and drop to rearrange search results for individual queries through Swiftype’s user friendly dashboard, add in results that don’t appear by default, or eliminate individual results entirely. With this power, site owners can tightly customize search results for high volume queries, quickly guiding users to the right support content.
  • Complete front end customization. Once Swiftype is installed, site owners can customize the look and feel of their search bar, autocomplete menu, and search results page to match the aesthetic of their help centers. For even more control, it’s possible to work with Swiftype meta tags to specify exactly what information our web crawler indexes as well as add custom fields and data.

And much more. For more information about Swiftype for Desk.com, check out our listing on the Desk.com app hub, or, for more information about Swiftype for self-service support centers and knowledge bases, check out our case studies.