The Swiftype Blog / Tag: site search

On the Search: NYU Libraries Implements Swiftype

New York University (NYU) Libraries is a global organization that advances learning, research, and scholarly inquiry in an environment dedicated to the open exchange of information. As the library of a prestigious university in the 21st Century, their proactive focus on technology enables them to actively reach users at their point of need, wherever that may be.

Today, the number one goal in NYU Libraries’ strategic plan is to “create a user experience that is high quality, consistent, and robust regardless of the user’s location, access method, or objective.” Obviously, their website serves as a critical component in reaching that goal.

As head of user experience for NYU’s library division, Nadaleen Tempelman-Kluit manages their online conduit between the university’s vast number of diverse users (from students and faculty to researchers and staff) and the massive amounts of information available. Here, Nadaleen explains their move to Swiftype as their primary site search and how it has improved their user experience.

What prompted you to look for a new site search?

Nyu.edu uses Google Site Search, so we were using that as our library’s site search. We didn’t have a lot of ability to customize the search, so we wanted to move away from that and get our own solution. We wanted to have more control.

What control did you need?

We didn’t have access to the analytics, so we didn’t know what was possible. We didn’t know all of the things we could do until we deployed Swiftype, but before we weren’t customizing anything. We wanted to gather data to improve both the search experience and how we were presenting our content to the users.

Did users notice your lack of customization?

Yes, for sure. We also had the old search kind of buried, so users had a tough time even finding it. But now our [Swiftype] search is front and center across all of our pages because now we understand our users better and recognize what they’re looking for.

How long did it take to implement Swiftype?

It was just a day. We worked with our CMS vendor, Siteleaf, and they recommended Swiftype. So we took their recommendation and it was ready to go almost immediately.

What types of analytics are helping you improve the user experience?

I tend to look at search queries, and that’s been really helpful. Swiftype’s synonym insights are also great. I can look at queries, see what people are searching for and what words they’re using, then add those keywords to our site. That’s been pretty huge.

We have a service called The Avery Fisher Center for Music and Media, where students get DVDs and watch videos, but most people spell it ‘Fischer.’ So there were a ton of people searching for Avery Fischer and not finding anything. That’s a perfect example. Another is a service called E-ZBorrow, which is spelled e-hyphen-z, but people obviously search for “e-a-s-y.” So we put in ‘E-Z’ and the synonyms ‘easy’ and ‘Easy-Borrow’ and so on. That’s been helpful, and it’s a great way to learn your audience.

Where have you seen improvements since deploying Swiftype?

Just looking at the number of searches, it’s much higher than I expected. It’s become very clear that site search is a big deal for our users.

What’s the Swiftype feature you just can’t live without?

The search queries. That sounds basic, but I’m looking for the percentage of people who succeed in finding something. As the head of user experience, that’s incredibly valuable to me. When I see queries where people didn’t find something, I want to jump in and resolve that.

Want to learn more? We have other great stories about how Swiftype has helped other organizations accomplish great things with Site Search. Check it out now!

The Future of Site Search

Last week, we took a look at the future of enterprise search. And we would be remiss if we didn’t set aside the same amount of blog space for a sister post on the future of site search.

Since it popped onto the scene in 1998, Google has pretty much dominated the world of search, including site search. But, as we all know, as of April 2018, Google Site Search will be going the way of the Dodo bird. (Don’t worry—we’re here to help!) And where website owners at one time could access only default site search options with limited capabilities, today, site search has matured lock-step with the rise of high user expectations.

Because searchers today want accurate, rapid-fire results, here at Swiftype our focus has been on building a search platform that is cloud-based, highly customizable (both visually and in terms of the overall results), scalable, engaging, and, of course, mobile. Advanced search algorithms, bigram matching, and features like autocomplete, faceted search, and spelling correction all work together to facilitate those aforementioned speedy search results. But what’s next for site search?

Welcome to the Future of Site Search

The boiled down “why” of site search has always been to have functionality in place that would help searchers tell companies and brands exactly what they were looking for, and/or what their pain points were. And the future of site search is looking very bright indeed.

Mobile Just Keeps Growing: Yes, we know, we know, mobile is the way to go. But seriously…MOBILE IS THE WAY TO GO! Mobile search has grown year over year across most verticals, including the big boys like finance, travel, auto, and media—and that growth is predicted to continue in 2017. The future of mobile search goes beyond simply having a mobile-responsive site. Think fast and efficient user experience, keyword research, content creation, and complex natural language queries. Wearable tech is a hot commodity, with estimates predicting 185 million wearables sold by 2021, resulting in a healthy $16.9 billion industry. And where you have wearables, you have voice search. Voice search continues to grow, especially for all those mobile users who want hands-free, on-the-go convenience. In fact, it’s predicted that by 2020, fully half of all web searches will be conducted by voice.

Artificial Intelligence and Natural Language Processing: Speaking of natural language queries, just as we discussed in our previous piece on the future of enterprise search, AI and NLP are having the same impact on site search, “…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.” And artificial intelligence is becoming so ubiquitous and mainstream, it’s predicted that by the year 2020, 85 percent of a client’s relationship with a business will occur without the need for pesky human beings!  

Visual Search: Another way artificial intelligence is shaping the future of site search is through images. Visual search and Ecommerce are natural best friends, with major brands like Wayfair, Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, Urban Outfitters, and Home Depot (among others) offering visual search on their mobile sites. But visual search technology does more than just source the latest styles. It helps improves diagnosis accuracy in the healthcare industry and is used in some airports to keep track of how often people change their appearance—frequent changes raise red flags. Pointing your phone at something and hitting search is easy, and site searchers today will always choose easy first. Expect huge future growth for the visual search industry.

Back in 2015, it was said that online search “will be able to see and hear like humans.” Fast forward two short years and it’s safe to say we’re well on our way to hitting those goals. Keep an eye on this space, as the future of site search looks very bright indeed.

Have questions or just want to learn more? The Swiftype Team is more than happy to chat with you about how your organization can ensure site search is a part of your future success. Connect with us today!

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!

 

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.

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.

5 Website Challenges Universities Will Face in 2017

Diverse audiences create diverse challenges, particularly when you’re attempting to curate and showcase the best and most relevant content on a website. Universities and higher education organizations feel this pain point more than most. Delivering content efficiently to your audience can become complicated when your website visitors range dramatically from prospective to current students, faculty, parents, alumni and donors. In addition to this, you often find yourself fielding homepage politics amongst faculty about what content should be featured and what they feel your visitors are actually searching for.

With so many different types of visitors coming to your site, are you really delivering what they’re looking for? Are you frustrated being the middleman without the access you need to analytics to support content decisions?

Does Your Website Search Make the Grade?

We’ve talked to top universities and explored some of the challenges unique to higher education that can best be solved with a robust site search solution. These are the 5 limitations:

1) The ability to rank search results or adjust the core algorithm of your on-site search
2) The overall search experience and matching the look and feel of standalone software to the rest of the website
3) The ability to implement advanced search features like autocomplete and spellcheck
4) Implementing quality search on mobile devices
5) Tracking conversions and quantifying your search traffic

As the person responsible for the website, do you know how to take these issues head on while staying out of home-page politics? It can all start with the help of a site search solution that just works. But before you make any changes, you’ll want to make sure the tool you choose meets these basic requirements:

  • Ability to customize search results
  • Flexibility in design to match look & feel of the site
  • Reporting insights to track the impact search has on traffic

Download the full eBook: 5 Website Challenges Universities Will Face in 2017 now to make sure you’re armed with all the detailed information needed in order to select the site search solution that’s right for you.

Or if you’re ready to see how Swiftype can help your college or university, reach out to request a free website search assessment. We’ll provide you with a report card of your current search experience and include recommendations that will help your site, make the grade.

4 Key Considerations for Acquiring an Effective Site Search Solution

Understanding and optimizing how buyers arrive and navigate through your website can be difficult. It’s especially frustrating since you know not capturing this information can leave you with costly gaps in conversion data.

The Aberdeen Group, widely known as a leader in the research and analysis of information technology and products, recently gathered insights on these data challenges. Their findings focused on “Site Search Solutions.” These are traditionally defined as platforms or tools that analyze and optimize a website visitor’s search experience. They can also shed light on the most popular content on your website or app. This ultimately gives you the real-time search analytics needed to reveal what, and whether, buyers are actually looking to buy.

Did you know that 37% of marketers actively invest in search solutions and 26% of those marketers average higher contribution to company revenue from marketing?

Aberdeen has assembled a full Buying Guide to outline all of the considerations you should take into account when evaluating an effective site search solution for your organization, but here’s a brief snapshot of what you need to know:

  1. Ease of Use and Implementation: Dealing with personnel limitations (available headcount, skillsets, bandwidth) is the top operational challenge cited by marketers in our research. Few marketers are coding experts, so it’s vital that the solution you choose doesn’t make already complex marketing operations more complex. 
  2. Customization for Performance Optimization: Best-in-Class marketing teams are 55% more effective than all others at maintaining consistent, relevant, and personalized messaging. Staying up to speed with what’s relevant to buyers while maintaining consistency requires that site search solutions be customizable. The terms and topics buyers search for change; solutions need to allow users to adapt accordingly.
  3. Analytically Driven Alignment to Buyer Needs: The best solution for your business will serve up results that prompt the best actions for your buyers. 
  4. Real Time Updates: The benefits of your site search solution should be immediately obvious. Marketers who use search solutions are 91% more effective at increasing productivity with integrated marketing technology. Real-time capabilities are critical for bringing the full utility of the technology to bear.

Download the FULL Aberdeen Buying Guide now to make sure you’re armed with all the detailed information needed in order to select the site search solution that’s right for you.

Introducing the Swiftype Search Sallet

Have you ever found yourself on one of your favorite websites, hunting for something very specific, typing query after query into the search field, thinking to yourself: “I wish my computer could just read my mind and find what I’m looking for!”

Well, great news, search fans! Swiftype, the largest independent Site Search and Enterprise Search provider on the web, has solved this long-standing, life-menacing problem just for you. If you ever thought hands-free site search was just a distant thing of the future, you’re wrong! The future is now and now is the future. Today, Swiftype is revealing a cutting-edge site search helmet designed to find what you’re looking for before you even know you’re looking for it: Introducing the Swiftype Search Sallet.

Powering Site Search While Searching Your Mind

We’ve extended our platform to include our patented Neuro-Learning Behavior Recognition technology (NLBR) – you think it, we search it! Get started with the Swiftype Search Sallet in 3 easy steps:

  • Step 1: Wearing Swiftype’s Search Sallet, stare at your computer’s search box for 3 seconds.
  • Step 2: Using Swiftype’s AI, NLP, ML and NLBR technologies, our search automation will recognize that you were searching for, (ie: “Do elephants have elbows?”) and auto-populate your query and immediately trigger the search.
  • Step 3: Review the set of results and stare for 3 seconds at the source you’d like to see more of – additional similar content will automatically appear! Voila! Search that reads your mind.

Unbelievable, Way-Too-Good-To-Be-True Features!

Standard Features include:

Split-Second Search: Our NLBR technology gets smarter over time by learning your eye patterns, brain activity and queries so your search results are returned to you even faster.

Productivity Filtering: Got a deadline coming up, but can’t stop wondering who would win in a fight between Iron Man and Batman? The Search Sallet knows you have to finish your work and won’t show you those results until after you get your work done.

Vocabulary enhancement: Still not sure if it’s “your” or “you’re?” The Swiftype Search Sallet knows which one you actually meant.

Available Enhanced Features:

Song Recognition: Ever get the melody of a song stuck in your head, with no way to figure out what it is? If you’re wearing the Swiftype Search Sallet, our algorithm will pick out the tune and find you that song!

Hunger Recognition: Craving Thai food?  Swiftype will find the restaurant you want in milliseconds before you even know you’re hungry.

Additional Sallet Specs:

  • Breathable, moisture-wicking liner, removable and washable – since you’ll surely work up a sweat -while you feverishly query
  • Color: Flat Black and rubber finish making it the ideal accessory, even for a night out on the town!
  • Incredibly lightweight! Only 10.5 lbs
  • 5-year warranty
  • Batteries not included

Our Customers Have Amazing Things to Say

(Statements given totally and completely by their own free will!)

“Before the Swiftype Search Sallet, I couldn’t find anything I really needed on the internet. Now, I can get information from any website just by thinking it!” – Dave, International Geographic

“I can’t believe I spent all these years wasting time using my hands to search!” – Mindy, Buzzton Post

Dozens of satisfied customers agree – Swiftype’s Search Sallet has not only revolutionized their modern search querying habits, but has made them more likable, attractive, and generally successful. Don’t wait. Order yours today!    

Just kidding. Early April Fool’s! But real talk, our search is pretty damn good. Try it for yourself.

Taking Site Search Back to School

They’re college students! They’re excited! They’re raring to go! But they need information to get started. More often than not, they hop online and search your university’s website to find everything they need without issue, right? Wrong. Their cursory search yields pages and pages of less-than-relevant search results. After exploring the first few options, they get frustrated because they can’t immediately find what they’re looking for. So, what do they do? They contact you. Over and over and over.

A university’s website is an important intersection for its varied audiences who are all looking for unique information. Often times additional menu options and subdomains are added in order to meet everyone’s needs, but web developers are increasingly realizing that site search is the key to making the right information more accessible.

Getting Smart with Site Search

Join us on Tuesday, March 28th to hear from the web development leaders from Roanoke College in Salem, Virginia and St. Mary’s University in San Antonio, Texas. They’ll explain their own experiences and how they made the choice to make site search a strategic part of their web experience. They’ll cover:

  • Why their old solutions didn’t work and what they looked for in a new solution
  • How they made search the focus of their website and how visitors reacted
  • Where they ran into challenges along the way and how they overcame

Don’t miss this great opportunity to hear directly from your industry peers about how site search was a game-changer for their website. Register now!

Learn How Top Universities Put Site Search at the Head of the Class
Tuesday, March 28th at 10:00 am PT, 1:00 pm ET

Essential Site Search Terms You Should Know

When evaluating your next Site Search solution, you may come across some terms that you’re not familiar with. We are often asked, What does this mean? From Bigram Matching, to Corpus, to Autocomplete, having a grasp of these common terms will help you better understand and evaluate your next website search engine platform. This post provides you with explanations for the most popular/common site search terms.

Essential Site Search Terms You Should Know

Autocomplete
Autocomplete (also known as typeahead or autosuggest) is a language prediction tool that many search interfaces use to provide suggestions for users as they type in a query.

Bigram matching
Bigram matching is a language analysis tool which advanced search engines use to find results for multiple-word queries that are similar to but not exactly the same as the text in the searchable index. (example: iPhone, i phone, i-phone are all different terms, but the algorithm recognizes them as the same)

Clickthrough behavior
Clickthrough behavior is a type of data that records what results users are clicking on from an SERP.

Constant Crawl
Constant Crawl is a Swiftype feature that allows your search engine index to be updated in real time. This means that any time a page is created or updated, Swiftbot will immediately index the new content and make it available in search results.

Conversions/Conversion rates
In the world of search, conversions occur when users perform a query and click on a result from the SERP.

Corpus
The corpus is the entire body of searchable text in a search index.

Document
The term document refers to a single page or item in a website search index. On a publishing website, for example, a document could be a single article. On an ecommerce website, a document could be a product listing.

Document frequency
Document frequency is the number of times a given term or query appears in a specific document within a larger search index.

Exit rate
Exit rate is a measurement in search analytics that records how often users perform a query then leave the SERP without clicking on a result.

Filtered search
Filtering is a search tool that lets users to restrict their search to a certain section of a website or a specific document type.

Phrase matching
Phrase matching is a language-dependent process which advanced search engines use to identify sets of words that should be treated as a cohesive unit when scanning across a search index for the most relevant documents.

Search query
Queries are the strings of text that users type into a search bar when looking for a specific result or set of results. Queries can be one word or several.

Stemming
Stemming is a language-dependent process of removing suffixes from words so that words with the same root match each other.

Term frequency
Term frequency is the number of times a given term or query apears within a search index.

To see the complete list of keywords, visit our Search Concepts overview page.

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