The Swiftype Blog / Category: Digital Publishers

Holiday Website Checklist: 7 Must-Have Features

Welcome to the Holiday Website Checklist! The holiday season is a great time of year to relax, celebrate, and reflect on the ups and downs of the past year. While we don’t want you spending too much time working this holiday, we did want to give you a helpful list for reviewing the technology you use on your website for things like security, analytics, and customer communication. We’ve created a high-level infographic as well as a detailed list which you can find below. After reviewing this list, we hope you can move into the new year with some ideas for creating an even stronger web presence.

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1 — Site Search

When a visitor searches for anything on your website, it is a strong sign of intent. It’s also a critical touchpoint given that a visitor who utilizes search is trusting you to provide them with relevant information. While we may be biased, site search is at the top of our holiday wishlist because it’s an often underrated website feature that helps you to better engage your visitors. In addition, it’s a real-time source of actionable data that informs you of what your visitors are interested in and will help you to better recognize trends in their behavior. Looking to add site search or level up your existing installation? You can sign up for a 14-day free trial of Swiftype Site Search here or learn more here.

2 — Live Chat

Customers prefer live chat over other communication options (Source: Forbes), and it actually helps companies to build trust with their website visitors. It makes sense if you think about it as chat is a natural means of communication and it makes people feel valued that your company is there to speak with them. Over the past few years, live chat has exploded in popularity as the tools have improved and companies have realized the financial benefits of implementing chat. If you’re looking for a live chat tool, check out Olark, Intercom, or Drift.

3 — A/B testing

A/B testing is a great method for optimizing the layout of your web pages so you can edge towards higher conversion rates. Tools like Optimizely and Google Optimize provide a robust framework for rapidly conducting tests so you can iterate on your website design. If you’re new to A/B testing and not sure where to start, check out this blog post from Kissmetrics.

4 — Analytics

Looking at data helps us to better understand our website visitors and unlock new business opportunities. You’re likely already using Google Analytics or a similar tool to track things like social referrals, traffic, and conversions. If you’re looking to utilize some of the more advanced features of Google Analytics, check out this course from Google. Heatmap tools like Hotjar are another great source of insight — helping you to understand what elements of your website are working and what needs to be changed.

5 — Security

In 2013, an average of 30,000 websites were hacked each day (Source: Forbes). What steps can you take to make sure your website is secure? If you’ve built your own website, you’ll want to use a tool like Gemnasium to monitor your website for security vulnerabilities (you don’t want to be the next Equifax). Additionally, if you’re not currently using HTTPS across your website, it’s probably a good idea to switch over. This article from Creative Bloq has some great tips about how to handle things like passwords, SQL injections, and file uploads as well as a list of helpful website security tools.

6 — Web performance monitoring

Google searches the entire web in a fraction of a second, so it makes sense that people expect your website to be fast. You can use tools like Pingdom or Uptrends to analyze the performance of your website and identify key areas for improvement. Additionally, Google has a free tool called PageSpeed which analyzes your site’s performance and offer recommendations for improving it. Overall, improving your site’s performance is an easy win as it’s relatively simple to identify problem areas and make the necessary changes.

7 — Personalization

Why serve up a generic web page when you can tailor your content on a visitor-by-visitor basis? Personalizing your website based on things like a user’s past actions, location, and company helps you to get more out of your marketing efforts and connect with a wider array of potential customers. If you’re using Marketo for marketing automation, they have a web personalization solution. If you’re using another marketing automation system, many of them offer personalization options and there are also some vertical-specific tools which you can read about here.

Hopefully, you found this list helpful and came away with some new ideas to think about as we head into the new year. From all of us at Swiftype and Elastic, we wish you a happy holiday!

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.



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



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 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.

The Importance of Analytics for Digital Publishers

Guest Post by Allie VanNest who works with’s marketing team. She spends her days telling stories about what content draws in website visitors, and why.

In digital publishing (or any form of content marketing), you’ll probably hear the word “analytics” thrown around quite a bit. That’s because many content creators use analytics to determine which posts are resonating most with their audience.

Many content creators have erroneously assumed that analytics are complex, best left to analysts. However, we’re here to tell you that data can (and should) be accessible to everyone. Editors and writers know their stories and content best. They can spot trends in ways that analysts can’t — and they can do it faster, which makes a big difference in the digital world.

Does an increasing reliance on analytics prevent content creators from publishing quality posts? No! As a matter of fact, data not only tells businesses how many people have visited their blog or site, but it also gives insight into the kind of posts that their readers find the most engaging. They can then use this information to craft future articles and develop an editorial calendar that takes advantage of this newfound information.

So what are analytics?

Analytics are more than pageviews

When you think of web analytics, you’re probably thinking about pageviews. And while pageviews do come into play, digital publishers actually look at many other factors when analyzing the success of a piece of content. Engaged time is one example of a metric that helps digital publishers to figure out how long readers spend actively reading their content. However, engaged time — like pageviews and most other metrics — is meaningless if it is not put into context with a publication’s overall audience goals.

Analytics tell you what content resonates with your audience

If you are a digital publisher, then you know that an editorial calendar is a must-have. It is vital to know what articles you are going to publish, and when. Rather than rely on a gut feeling to help fill in this information, analytics provides concrete examples for companies to make actionable, intelligent decisions.

For example: Rockford Register Star (Rockford, IL), a GateHouse Media property, ran a feature on a man who collects hats. The feature really resonated with audiences on Facebook, so editors decided to shoot video of the man the next day. They added the video to the story package and kept it alive for longer than usual. Readers just loved hearing about this local hat collector.

It’s clear that reviewing analytics can help brands and publishers to discover what articles are popular — and let them know which posts deserve a follow-up. Analytics also let companies know which pieces are a good fit for social media, and can help them tailor their posts to what will resonate most with their followers.

Analytics can help you decide where to post content

Often, published articles are technically good, but they fail to resonate with a particular audience. Perhaps the article has not posted on the appropriate distribution channel, or maybe it is positioned in a weird place on your publication’s homepage. allows digital publishers to access analytics about a post’s real-time audience engagement directly through an on-page overlay that lives on homepages, section pages, and within the on-site article. With the overlay enabled, article pages include an on-page record of total views, visits, and referrals for the last ten minutes. We also provide information on how the location of an article affects the audience’s reaction — this is called position tracking. (This means that analytics can also be helpful for ad placement, especially since you will want to know what sections are more likely to get clicks than others.)

Analytics help drive content strategy

Analytics provide valuable insight into user intent. Think about site search analytics as an example: Tracking how people use a search bar on your site can tell you what information users are looking for. In turn, you can create relevant content that will resonate with them. Understanding trending queries for future stories, or finding content gaps, can all be understood by viewing site search.

The main takeaway? Analytics play a vital role in the content-development process. Not only do they provide valuable data about which posts are resonating best with your particular audience, but they can also help you decide where to post content — and what content to post — for maximum impact. and Swiftype Partnership

Swiftype is excited to announce a new partnership with

In our continued efforts to better serve online publishers and media companies, we are excited to announce a new partnership with—a leading provider of analytics and audience insights for digital publishers. Since hosting our first joint webinar in August, we have been continually impressed by the people, research, and insights that brings to the publishing space, and we’re excited to join forces with a clear industry leader.

As we’ve worked with the team, they have helped us better understand the publishing space and improve our product. At the same time, we’ve given an enriched perspective on the value of powerful site search for publishers. Through the collective power of our broad client base, this partnership will help both companies improve their offerings and keep our digital publishing companies happy.

“Partnering with Swiftype means that we’ll be even better equipped to help our clients meet the needs of their readers, whether through content analytics, recommendations, and now through a great search experience.”

Sachin Kamdar, CEO, Co-Founder,

With a wide range of product developments, joint research projects, and events planned, we’re excited for what this partnership will bring in the coming year. To learn more about’s unique analytics platform, visit their website.

Four Secrets to Extending the Shelf Life of Viral Content

Congratulations! You’ve got an article that is gaining lots of attention online and going viral. As you start wondering how to keep your article top of mind for as long as possible, consider taking advantage of these four web optimization secrets that take no time to implement.

1. Use your site search analytics to see which queries are generating the most engagement for your viral content.

It is now easy to find out what search queries your users are typing into your search box before they click on your viral article. Because this data is readily available today, you can now click into those queries and understand where your viral article is ranked in that search query’s results. Because this data is changing in real time, you can change your data range to get a better sense of which search queries are generating the most engagement with your article over time.

2. Placement of sharing buttons is important.

The only way a piece of content goes viral is if it’s shared. If your shared buttons are only in the header and footer, then you’re missing out on an opportunity for the reader to share your content WHILE they’re engaging with it. Make sure that this is done tastefully as users will quickly discount your content if you push it in front of their face too much.

3. Add top performing site search queries to your SEO strategy.

Even though this tactic is more acquisition than optimization, it’s important for you to consider taking your site search analytics data and conducting research to see where you rank for your top performing site search queries in Google.

4. Meaningful content evokes a willingness to share.

Readers only share content when they experience an emotion so strong that they just have to let someone know how they feel. For example, the ice bucket challenge went viral not only because it was so simple to do, but because it made everyone feel good because it was for a meaningful cause. But tapping into your audience’s emotions with meaningful content will get you well on your way to a long shelf life for viral content.

Analytics is changing how editors and publishers build experiences for their audience online. Check out this webinar to learn why.


Creating an engaging user experience is paramount to the success of digital publishing. A primary component of any engagement strategy is helping your users find content that is timely, interesting, and relevant to their interests. But how can you do that? Your first consideration should be your data and analytics.

Join Ben Lack, Senior Director of Marketing and Business Development for Swiftype, and Clare Carr, Director of Marketing for, as they cover the best questions to ask of your data and analytics to find out what your readers want and how to get it to them. See how top media brands and digital publishers are using the answers they find about their audience to power their editorial and product strategies.

  • What metrics really mean and what they’re telling you about your audience
  • 5 Questions about what your readers want that anyone on your team should be able to answer
  • Examples of how premium publishers are using analytics to grow their loyal audiences
  • Insights from Swiftype’s billions of search queries and‘s billions of network page views about what audiences want from all publishing sites.

So sign up today, then tune in on August 19 for a deep dive on how your editorial and publishing teams can improve your users online experience. Invite your colleagues to join, too!

Why Online Publishers Need Better Search

In the last few weeks, we’ve written about why ecommerce stores can’t afford to ignore site search, as well as why great self-service support centers need great search. Continuing our series, today we’re covering the reasons why online publishers need to invest in search to maximize their potential:

  1. Search helps visitors find content. This seems obvious, but returning relevant results for anything beyond very basic one-word queries requires a complex search and information retrieval algorithm -something most native search applications can’t provide. One example of this is phrase recognition. For example, if a visitor performs a search for “2016 presidential election,” basic search engines will return results based on how relevant articles are to the term “2016,” “presidential,” and “election” separately, rather than recognizing the three words as a single entity and prioritizing results to rank articles with all three terms higher.
  2. Strong search will keep visitors on your site. If readers enjoy your content, it is very likely that they will want to explore the archives to find more. If visitor searches yield irrelevant, or worse, no results, the key performance indicators content websites care most about, such as time on site, pages per visit, and exit rate, will suffer. Conversely, if searches yield highly relevant, engaging results, those same KPIs will improve. These improved KPIs will also dramatically increase your value proposition for advertisers.
  3. Search should allow users to refine their results. After performing an initial search, readers may want to refine their results based on topic, author, or publication date. By giving these readers this option, you empower them to hone in on exactly what they are looking for.
    Powerful search allows users to drill down and find the content they are looking for.
  4. Search analytics can drive content strategy. Search analytics give site owners a unique opportunity to directly listen to what users want from a website, but this data is often overlooked. By looking at top searches, publishers can get a better sense of what articles are popular and decide what to feature on their homepage. On the other hand, site owners can look at the top queries that returned no results to determine what content needs to be created.

Today, users expect relevant results for a wide range of query types. Powerful search will quickly satisfy visitors and keep them on your site, but weak search results will quickly frustrate users and cause them to look elsewhere for content. By investing in robust, high-quality search, publishers can not only delight their visitors with relevant content, but dramatically increase their site’s value.

For a detailed look at how publishers can benefit from great internal search, see how Dramafever saw a direct return on their investment in search.

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