The Swiftype Blog

10 Ways Publishers Can Optimize Their Websites

We know it happens. Digital Publishing is hectic. You get into the office and are immediately bombarded with an inbox filled to the brim with email, back-to-back morning meetings, coffee with a client, and before you know it – you’ve missed that awesome, educational webinar you had been looking forward to attending all week!

Don’t worry. We’ve got you. 

Well, we’re here to make your day a bit brighter by letting you know that you have a second chance! You still have the opportunity to learn the latest on how you can best optimize your website from Publishing Executive. Joined by speakers Matt Riley, CEO, Swiftype and Sal Fuentes, CEO, Decision Counsel, you’ll get a deep dive on how to leverage different types of data to increase engagement and conversion.  

Once you get readers to your site, holding their attention is the name of the game. Greater engagement leads to devoted audiences, more ad impressions, and readers more likely to sign up for a newsletter, attend an event, or pay for a subscription. From speed and ease of navigation, to site search and content strategy, publishers must stay vigilant in their quest to create sticky, on-site experiences as they vie with platforms like Facebook and Snapchat for consumer attention.

Put your data to work

To refresh your memory, in this webinar we’ll hear how publishers can optimize their sites to meet key business objectives. Some of the tactics to be covered will include:

  • Increasing content engagement & decreasing bounce rate
  • Improving site search & using search metrics
  • Balancing revenue and UX objectives
  • Keeping up to speed on mobile design
  • Using analytics to drive web and content strategy

If you had previously registered, just follow the link below and click “Already Registered?” in the top right-hand corner. If you’re joining for the first time, fill out the standard form and you’ll be taken to the recording as well. Happy learning!

 

Swiftype Enterprise Search Expands Connector Platform to Include Atlassian’s JIRA and Confluence

With emphasis on worker efficiency at an all-time high, more businesses are turning to Atlassian, a leading provider of software development and collaboration tools. Two popular Atlassian products, JIRA and Confluence, help teams work together, build software, and better serve customers. With the continuous expansion of Swiftype’s Connector Framework, we are thrilled to announce our new native connectors to JIRA and Confluence.

Expansion is the Key to Success for Enterprise Search
JIRA and Confluence are products that are widely used and trusted by millions, so, given the incredible amount of content that is created and stored in these applications, they were obvious choices. The formal and supported connections between JIRA, Confluence and the Enterprise Search Platform will make it all the more seamless to find content across multiple applications at once. By bringing Atlassian-supported work into the Swiftype platform, users can quickly discover helpful content to build into projects, tasks, documents and more. Swiftype’s commitment to meeting people where they work continues with these additions, allowing users to search across more data sources without having to leave the application they’re already working in.

Swiftype for JIRA Screenshot

What You Can Expect from Swiftype for JIRA and Confluence:

  • Streamlined project management. Most teams use JIRA for project management and Confluence for documentation, but they also use a plethora of complementary apps to get their work done, like Github for code collaboration and management, Dropbox to access UI files from design teams, and Help Scout or another customer support management system, to name a few. Swiftype’s integrated Enterprise Search solution helps teams stay agile by enabling effortless incorporation of design thinking, agile development, and release management into their process.
  • Instant, relevant content for all your projects. Imagine you are assigned a pull request in Github, but you don’t have much context for why those changes need to be made. Instead of having to hunt around for similar pull requests in Github, related tasks in JIRA or more relevant information in Confluence, you can use the Enterprise Search Chrome extension to immediately see related JIRA tickets, documentation in Confluence, sprint planning documents in Google Drive, account records of impacted customers in Salesforce, and any other related content from your different sources.
  • Global collaboration.  Atlassian takes into account the global nature of project development and encourages flexible cross-organization planning. Collaboration can take place across time zones, but also across tools, like Slack. Swiftype Enterprise Search also offers a federated integration with Slack, which allows users to easily pull up any file from any connected content repository, complete with smart filters and AI-based natural language processing, and share it directly with channels or individuals.

Get Started!
We’re excited to welcome Atlassian tools ‘to the family’ of our Enterprise Search connectors. It’s simple to set up. With just a few clicks, your entire library of cloud content is accessible right alongside your JIRA and Confluence workflows. Visit us in the Atlassian Marketplace to learn more and sign up for a free trial.

The Future of Enterprise Search

Here’s the thing when it comes to search: Searchers are human beings. They’re not looking for “data” or irrelevant search results. They’re looking for the right information in the fastest time possible. And they usually want it yesterday.

This applies just as much (if not more) to enterprise search as it does to general search. If you’re over the age of 30—heck, I remember the Dewey Decimal System—you’ll recall manual, hard copy searching. While Intranets have been around since the 70’s, for decades there wasn’t much of anything you could call innovation.

Having onsite hardware was expensive and something only the largest companies tended to invest in. And it didn’t function all that well, which wasted a ton of time that could have been spent on more productive (and financially beneficial) work.

Thankfully those days, for the most part, are over—Google, cloud computing, and big data have been three key drivers in the evolution of enterprise search. The humble Intranet of yore feels positively archaic compared to enterprise search systems of today: cloud based, instant, individualized, and predictive.

But as technology catches up to consumers’ habits, those habits evolve, and the technology needs to follow—or better yet, lead the way.  

Welcome to the Future of Enterprise Search

There are exciting days ahead for the future of enterprise search. Let’s take a look.

Artificial Intelligence and Natural Language Processing: While machines haven’t taken over just yet, machine learning is creating systems that can identify relationships between search terms and words that pre-defined word/grammar rules-based tools miss. Basically, “teaching” the system how to be human. In the case of collaborative (or conversational) search, the computer effectively learns enough about the searcher to create a feedback loop of search results, allowing the system to “assume” the searcher is looking for X or Y based on the context of previous searches. The result? More accurate search results and less time wasted wading through “not quite right” content.

Visual Search: What with the Internet and the social web, videos, pictures, graphs, and memes, our world has become exponentially more visual. And whether you’re searching for diagrams, tables, images, data plots, people, or—in the case of medicine—a diagnosis, image recognition technology is going to see some real growth.

Voice Search: “Siri, what time is it?” You’ve done it, and so have 50 percent of American teenagers, and more than 40 percent of U.S. adults. Digital assistants are fairly commonplace these days, and tech companies are tripping over each other to be first out of the gate when it comes to making voice search smarter, more functional, and more responsive. Artificial Intelligence technology is also “learning” to understand intent and context in voice search and to take into consideration variables such as location and search history.

So what’s next for enterprise IT?

Zorawar Biri Singh is kind of a big deal when it comes to the future of search related tech, having worked as head of cloud for IBM, HP, and CTO of Cisco. He sees “people-centric digitization,” or being able to “look across enterprises and uncover deeply embedded human workflows, both implicit and explicit—the ‘contracts’ that determine how organizations and culture transform” as a natural next step.

Enterprise search software should be considered a critical part of your organization’s functionality. The overall efficiency of your corporate policies and procedures—not to mention your employees’ productivity levels—depend on having a robust enterprise search platform in place.

Want to learn more about how enterprise search can make your team more productive than ever before? Request a demo with the Swiftype team today and they can walk you through it!

Google Custom Search: You Get What You Pay For

When you meet someone for the first time, you create a first impression within seven seconds. Your website is no exception. Once on your website, your prospects and customers develop and hold on to lasting associations of your company, your brand and your overall credibility. If they experience any trouble finding the information they are looking for, they will abandon their search and potentially take their interest elsewhere.

Because of this, making it easy for visitors to quickly find information is crucial. Your site’s search box remains the most obvious way for visitors to find what they’re seeking. For many, the go-to solution has been the recently-discontinued Google Site Search, which is now transitioning to Google Custom Search Engine (CSE).

You Get What You Pay For

Now, not only do you have to address a potential migration to Google CSE, you’ll also have to consider the impact to visitor experience that comes with this change. It’s your website and your brand. It’s up to you to maintain the integrity of both on behalf of your company, so take a moment to consider these three points before you make the move to CSE:

  • It puts third-party ads on your website
  • It takes away your control of site search results
  • It distracts visitors from your brand and site design

Get all the facts now

Download the full white paper now for all the details on the 3 Reasons Why Google Custom Search Engine Isn’t Worth the Free Price and make sure you’re making a choice that’s right for you and your website visitors.

Mobile Search and the Modern Marketer

“Mobile mobile mobile!” No, this isn’t an episode of The Brady Bunch—it’s the rallying cry of marketers everywhere. Why? Because in 2016, mobile overtook desktop as the primary way users accessed web content. Of course, if you take a look around the next time you’re in a mall, restaurant, on public transit, or attending a sporting event—probably even in your own living room—this won’t come as a huge surprise.

According to a January 2017 report, time spent in mobile applications climbed by 69% in the United States alone. U.S. users spend an incredible five hours each day using apps on their mobile devices, with messaging and social media in particular eating up a large chunk of that time.

Not only are web users mobile and in love with their apps, they also tend to be multi-platform users, switching from desktop to laptop, to tablet, to mobile phones, (which is why omni-channel marketing is so important).  

Problems to Contemplate When Considering Mobile

Clearly, it would behoove most organizations to have mobile marketing—specifically as it relates to mobile search—squarely in their crosshairs. But, like most things in life, mobile isn’t 100% perfect. There are definitely some mobile-specific issues that you need to take into consideration when crafting your mobile strategy.

  • The potential for higher latency. We have all been spoiled by our rapid-fire desktops and having to wait for a site to load turns a lot of visitors off. I can personally attest to the fact that I bounce if something is taking too long to load and I know I’m not alone. In fact, if a page doesn’t load within three seconds… POOF! 53% of mobile site visits are abandoned. And when mobile sites were compared, those that loaded within five seconds (versus as long as 19 seconds) saw increased ad views, had searchers remain on site 70% longer, and decreased bounce rates by 35%.
  • Errant clicks sink ships. Similar to latency issues, you can also blame the desktop for this mobile problem. Instead of mouse clicks, keyboard strokes, and trackpad precision, it’s our clumsy thumbs and fingers poking around mobile sites. Poorly placed banners, ads, or hard-to-find search elements can lead to incorrect clicks, which lead to increased drop-off. The result? You might have just lost an engaged user on your site to your competitor.
  • Search must be simple. While you don’t want to immediately hammer visitors over the head with your search options, you must ensure that your mobile search capabilities are up front and crystal clear. Since real estate on mobile is limited, it’s especially important that the search results that the user wants are at the top of the list—otherwise users will have to scroll, potentially encouraging them to check out other sites. This means autocomplete takes on an even more important responsibility and misspellings still need to lead a user to the right place.

What Marketers Need to Know About Mobile Search

Mobile’s popularity and continued growth has definitely upset the traditional ideological mantra of: “build (and optimize) your website, and they will come.” Today, many companies—including behemoths like Google and Apple—are opting for a mobile-first push when it comes to website design.

The reasons behind a mobile-first strategy are pretty straightforward. Mobile screens (and their functionality) are fundamentally different from desktop screens and their design should reflect that. Add that to that the fact that people tend to browse more on desktops and search more on mobile, and the need for an easy and efficient mobile search experience makes perfect sense.

Also, as mentioned above, people are spoiled these days. Mobile users are highly goal-oriented, want to achieve results quickly and easily, and don’t want to encounter confusing navigation or crowded screens full of touch-sensitive elements. Not surprisingly, according to a report on SearchEngineLand.com, some of the most common (and most annoying) issues for mobile search users hunting content, also happen to match perfectly with these mobile search issues:

  • Content not sized to screen: Scroll scroll scroll.
  • Font size too small: Pinch pinch pinch.
  • Touch elements too close together: Bounce bounce bounce (see above re: errant clicks).

Adapting to the Evolution of Mobile Users

When you add up all the moving parts around mobile search, you wouldn’t be far off the mark to think that mobile hasn’t actually changed search as much as mobile users have changed search. And these days, the user/customer/client holds all the cards. To sum up, you can help mobile users achieve optimum mobile search success in a few ways:

  • If possible, adopt a mobile-first strategy.
  • Ensure that users can search immediately to find the content they are looking for.
  • Implement advanced search functionality like autocomplete, spelling correction, phrase matching, and more.
  • Do as much as you can to reduce latency.
  • Provide highly targeted content so users find what they need as quickly as possible.
  • And remember micro-moments on the user’s journey, like “I want to know, go, do, and buy.”

It’s predicted that customer/user experience will be the top brand differentiator—topping price and product—by the year 2020. If it’s not already, fine-tuning your mobile search experience should be at the top of your priority list.

Ready to take a hard look at your site search solution and how you can improve your mobile and website search? Chat with the Swiftype team today and they can help find the best fit for you.

Site Search: Your Online ROI Answer Button

As a marketer, you’re aware of all the traditional lead generation channels as well as the latest up-and-coming trends. You might even consider yourself an early-adopting, marketing maverick since you’re open to trying the latest technology or strategies that give your campaigns some edge. But with all the options out there, nothing beats the black and white facts of customer need and intent.

Your website’s search box is the ultimate window to your customer’s intentions. When a visitor takes the effort to go to your website or application’s search box and enter in a search term, it reveals not just what they’re looking for, but a higher level of interest and willingness to take action. These queries can also reveal important information about what content you’re missing or synonymous terms you should be adopting to ensure your visitors are getting the most relevant content.

Site search and search data are important and valuable components of your website, and yet, many companies don’t optimize, test, or reassess their site search at all. This is a major missed opportunity for any marketer.

Don’t miss this chance

Join us on Wednesday, May 24th for a live webinar featuring Praveena Khatri, Vice President of Marketing at Swiftype, Lukasz Zelezny, Head of Organic Acquisition at uSwitch.com, and Thorin McGee, Editor in Chief/Content Director at Target Marketing to learn how you can make the most of your own site search.

  • Mine your search for lead generation and SEO insights
  • Test and optimize your site search function
  • Convert more site search users into buyers
  • And more!

Register and save your spot today!

How Swiftype Uses Swiftype:
Part 1 – Developers

I’m Brian, a Software Engineer at Swiftype. I’ve been working a lot on Swiftype Enterprise Search, and I use it every day.

I had our rotating “Support Wizard” hat this week, which means I’m responsible for addressing customer inquiries and cases for the week. Enterprise Search helped me close a customer case in 15 seconds. The customer needed to whitelist our crawler’s IP addresses so we could crawl their site. I went to search.swiftype.com in my browser and searched for “crawler ip ranges.” I clicked the first result from Help Scout and it took me to a recent ticket requesting the same information but from a different customer. Bam! That’s exactly what I was looking for! Case closed.

Brian Stevenson, Engineering Wizard

 

When dealing with code, I use Enterprise Search for a number of different things. The browser extension is super handy when reviewing Pull Requests (PR) in Github. For example, I was looking at a PR that was pulling in a newer version of nokogiri, but it didn’t have a lot of context. All it had was the version bump, the new version of the gem, and small commit message. I opened the Enterprise Search Chrome extension and I was immediately presented with other PRs and Jira tickets related to the same body of work. I was able to click through to those results to get a much better idea of where and why those changes were taking place. At that point, I had much more context and was able to effectively review the changes in front of me. The browser extension is perfect for that – I can open it up on a pull request on Github and see a plethora of additional, relevant PRs and Jira tickets for that area of code.

Using the browser extension with Jira is also super helpful. If I’m looking at a ticket in Jira, it shows me all open pull requests and any other related Jira tickets that may not have been linked. Furthermore, it shows me all of our sprint planning docs in Google Drive and Dropbox, due to our full text extraction capabilities and fine-tuned search algorithms.

One of my favorite things to use Enterprise Search for is when I’m working with our Design team. They create a lot of visual content, like mockups and templates, but where that content is stored in Dropbox isn’t exactly self-evident. So when I’m working on a project that requires implementing their designs, rather than trying to wade through the ocean of digital assets in Dropbox, or bug them to send me an exported version of the new design, I just search for the content in the Enterprise Search app.  I use really simple, but extremely powerful queries like “new dashboard design in dropbox” or “sidebar icons in dropbox.” The search results all have image previews of the visual content they’ve been designing, so I can quickly scan them to find exactly what I’m looking for in an instant.

Enterprise Design Results

I also use Enterprise Search to show me all of the open pull requests assigned to me, across all of our repositories. It’s extremely useful because I don’t have to go to each repository individually to check for those PRs I need to take action on. I also sometimes use it to see PRs assigned to other people, in case they’re out sick, for example.

Speaking of people, the “Person View” is pretty awesome. One of my developers just went on vacation and I needed to be able to see what he was working on to be able to get the work done before the end of the sprint. I just searched for “Chris,” and because he was automatically created as a person in our organization (just by signing up for an account), I was able to see all of his recent changes across all our repositories in Github and other sources. I was able to jump on the highest priority task he was working on and finish it off. Success! I was also able to get more context on the other issues he was working on because I found some conversations he had with other engineers in Slack, and comments he made on tickets in Help Scout.

We also just hired a new engineer (who is coincidentally also named Brian)! I was helping him get up to speed and needed to find this mythical “onboarding” document. I did a quick search for “welcome guide”, and sure enough, the document showed up as the first result. And with a few more quick searches, I was able to find all the other onboarding documents that were scattered around our various cloud services. It’s so handy, and easy, to be able to search and find documents like this. It saves me so much time!

Last but not least, I use the mobile app to receive notifications for upcoming meetings. We have a sprint planning meeting every two weeks, so I get a notification on my phone that says hey, there’s this sprint planning meeting coming up, do you want to review these documents first? And I’m like yeah! I do want to review those docs so I can remember what we’re talking about at sprint planning! Thanks, Swiftype!

Site Search Data: A Goldmine of Analytics

In 2009, Google’s Avinash Kaushik wrote about the importance of site search analytics, going so far as calling them “life altering”. At that time, Kaushik argued that two major sites were driving users towards search bars: Amazon, because of it’s massive selection, and Google, because of how many users begin browsing with a global Google search. Because these sites have such a powerful influence over users’ expectations, Kaushik pointed out that more and more people “ignore our lovingly crafted navigational elements and jump to the site search box,” when they arrive on a website – a trend which generates invaluable data about user intent for site owners.

analytics

Eight years later, these websites have only grown in importance, meaning that Kaushik’s argument is even more important and more relevant than ever before. This begs the question: given this steady stream of incoming data, what analytics should site owners look for from their search bars? Although the answer to this question will vary based on the specific use case of your website, here are some of the key questions that your site search analytics should help you answer:

  1. What are the most common queries? This seems obvious, but site owners should pay close attention to their top queries because they offer a looking glass into the precise wants and needs of site visitors. Queries are, after all, user generated, so they allow you to listen to your users in a way that no other analytics can.
  2. What are users searching for but not finding? In other words, what are the most common queries that return no results? This data is highly actionable, since you can either create content to meet these users’ needs or reconfigure your results to provide answers and prevent users from hitting dead ends.
  3. What percentage of site visitors are using search? How often is search used relative to the navigation buttons? Aside from helping you get a clear sense of just how valuable search navigation is for users, you should track this statistic over time to see user behavior patterns change in response to any updates you make on your website.
  4. How do conversion rates differ for searchers vs. non-searchers? If your analytics tell you that users who perform searches are more likely to convert than users who don’t, you should reconfigure your website to feature search as a more prominent navigational tool.
  5. What pages are users searching from most? This will give you a sense of what pages are most confusing. It’s a safe assumption that if a user can’t find the information that they are looking for on a certain page, they will use the search bar to try and find it.
  6. What autocomplete options are most popular? When a user chooses an item from the autocomplete dropdown, this is a clear indication of what they are hoping to find for that query. Use this data to customize search results and autocomplete display so that these results are closer to the top.

When you configure your website’s analytics, make sure you’re getting all this information. As we stated above, internal search bars provide a unique opportunity to directly listen to your users – and this valuable information should not go to waste.

If you’d like to learn more about site search analytics, read Swiftype’s white paper: Understanding Site Search Analytics, which provides industry benchmarks on important metrics and offers A/B testing ideas to optimize search for conversions.

Top Trends in AI-Powered Cloud Search with Forrester Research

How often does this happen to you: you sit in front of your laptop thinking “is there something that already exists that could help me right now?” You know that one specific file exists somewhere, but you can’t find it. Is it in Google Drive or Dropbox? You start searching through the different apps, ask your coworkers, but eventually you’ll give up and create something from scratch. Forrester Research estimates that knowledge workers can spend 30% of their time looking for information, insights, and answers. Do the math. That’s a lot of inefficiency and time wasted. But it’s also a significant opportunity to increase employee productivity if search technology can streamline the process and return highly relevant results. Keyword search engines of the past are obsolete. AI-powered search is the new watchword.

Swiftype & Forrester Webinar
We’ve partnered with Forrester Research on May 18 for a live webinar to discuss this specific topic – The Future of Cloud Search. Our guest speaker from Forrester, Mike Gualtieri, VP & Principal Analyst, will discuss:

  • Trends he sees with AI-powered search in the cloud
  • How Natural Language Processing and Machine Learning technologies can predict more relevant, personalized results
  • Ways to boost organizational productivity with the right search technology

Seats are limited. Be sure to join us on Thursday, May 18.

How Promoting Demand Gen Content in Search Results Helps Land Leads

You don’t have to be a genius to understand why content generation is a good thing. In fact, it’s a very good thing since it’s used to increase awareness, lead-gathering, and conversion rates, and ultimately sales.

But knowing when to prioritize which type of content on your web properties can be tricky without the insights of your visitors’ behaviors. These observations can be beneficial, even advantageous because you don’t have to guess what they’re interested in, they’re flat-out telling you. So where do you start? How should you begin?

Let’s Start With the Basics

Demand and lead generation content come into play at different points in your relationship with your buyer, but both are equally important and should be easily accessible, especially via your website.  Yes, I’m here to tell you there is a difference between Demand Generation and Lead Generation content.

Demand generation content tends to be free and easy. And free and easy are two words people like to hear, especially when they’re initially researching a product or service. This type of content—ie: blog-posts, checklists, infographics, charts, and images—is used to provide information about, and drive interest around your products and/or services, as well as help map out brand positioning and raise brand awareness. It’s highly digestible and begs to be shared.

Lead generation content, on the other hand, isn’t quite so easy, nor is it free. It’s typically gated and leans toward long-form, meaty, highly subject-specific content—ie: whitepapers, e-books, research studies, and webinars. It can’t be accessed without the reader giving away details like email, phone numbers, and workplace information. This rich, curated content is targeted at select, interested readers, already familiar with your brand and actively searching for answers or a solution.

Understanding Search Queries Helps Promote the Right Content

When visitors search for something on your site, that’s clear, intent data. You don’t have to guess what they’re interested in based on behavior. But there is also plenty that can be inferred to help move buyers along. By implementing the right site search solution, you can track these behaviors and then quickly display relevant results, while simultaneously enhancing your library with additional content that addresses these pain points and questions. Your site search solution can also help clarify what people “mean” when they ask certain questions or key-in variants of search queries. This goes a long way toward determining how best to serve up the most fitting demand gen content.

Let’s say you’re in higher education and have a diverse audience visiting your website daily. A general, overarching, site search query, like “campus tour” might indicate your searcher is potentially a prospective student in the beginning stages of their research. This provides you an excellent opportunity to not only prioritize relevant content on booking campus tours, but also highly rank additional helpful information geared toward prospective, on-the-fence students that will increase their likelihood to apply.  

Or say your brand sells invoicing software for freelancers. A visitor to your site may have been recommended by a friend but not yet be sold on the benefits you offer. If they search for “easy invoicing,” you can weight and rank your results to focus on promoting your best and highest converting pieces of content, ensuring that you give them results that show that you’re the experts.

And Voila! You Have Leads That Are More Likely to Convert

This is why investing in an intuitive site search platform that utilizes advanced search algorithms and language modeling intelligence is important. Not only does it help customers find what they’re looking for faster, but it helps you investigate your top site searches and ensure you’re delivering the most relevant and optimal demand/lead generation content buyers are looking for. By delivering the most relevant and topical content, no one clicks off your site underserved or unhappy.

The result? Your content has actually helped those looking for help, in one way, shape, or form. Whether they want information or they want answers, when they find the right content, they willingly engage, provide their contact information, and look to you as a leader in your space.

Want to learn more about site search and how it can kick start lead conversion on your website? Download the Abderdeen Group Buying Guide: “4 Key Considerations for Acquiring an Effective Site Search Solution” and get all the details.

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