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Sensible Searching: Making Search Engines Work Dr Shaun Ryan CEO S.L.I. Systems

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Presentation on theme: "Sensible Searching: Making Search Engines Work Dr Shaun Ryan CEO S.L.I. Systems"— Presentation transcript:

1 Sensible Searching: Making Search Engines Work Dr Shaun Ryan CEO S.L.I. Systems

2 Overview 1.Query usability – making it easy to search 2.Search results presentation – presenting the right information 3.Improving relevance – how to put the best result at the top

3 Query usability The search box Where to have advanced search features Controlling the scope of a search

4 Query usability: the search box Should be: Easy to find – suggest top right On every page possible A box not a link Large enough to type most queries Large enough font

5 Query usability: example Inside NBC

6 Query usability: advanced search Don’t put advance features on the normal search box. Link to advanced search page from –Search results –Near search box –No results page Page will help you –Choose scope (sources, products, dates, etc) –Construct Boolean queries –Select presentation options Ideally can remember preferences

7 Query usability: scope Suggest search everything by default On search results page indicate what was searched and give easy options to refine or expand search. Example from VERITAS 1 - 10 of 6514 results for exchange within Knowledge Base, Support PDF Documents & News Groups 1 - 10 of 592 results for exchange within Knowledge Base (search the whole support site)

8 Search results presentation Incorporate company branding What to show and what not to show Search suggestions How should the results be ordered?

9 Presentation: Branding Incorporate company branding and standard navigation on the search results page Search results page is one of the most viewed pages Do not use the default look and feel of your search engine

10 Presentation: What to show Show enough to make a decision Do not show: –Relevance indicators –Date –File size –URL Show titles and descriptions maybe category, related searches, image.

11 Presentation: Bad example

12 Presentation: Good example

13 Presentation: Search Suggestions Clickable related search terms Help refine search 25% of searches come from search suggestion clicks – are very useful

14 Presentation: Ordering Put most relevant result at the top Don’t categorize Can have options to change order

15 Improving relevance Very important – improves productivity Ways of measuring relevance Good titles and descriptions Using No Index tags Using click through information Using search reports

16 Measuring relevance


18 Improving Relevance: Titles and Descriptions Give every page on your site relevant title and description meta tags Give more weight to titles and descriptions Improves relevance, increases decision speed Can use intelligent indexing if fixing your site is too much

19 Improving Relevance: No index tags navigation - tells your indexer to ignore part of a page Normally header/footer/navigation elements. Only relevant content indexed Descriptions shown in search results have relevant content

20 Improving Relevance: Using click throughs Put the results people click on most at the top Uses the intelligence of your employees to continuously improve the search results Improves relevance metrics Works best when there are lots of people searching

21 Improving Relevance: using search statistics A lot of useful information

22 Summary Simple techniques make huge difference to the quality of your search experience Make it easy to search Make it easy to evaluate the search results with clear presentation Make the results as relevant as possible Shaun Ryan 1 866 240 2812

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