The most underused feature of a website is the internal search engine. The internal search engine puts all content of your site available within one click of the home page.
Every time a user must click you lose significant traffic. By the third click you’ve lost nearly all your traffic. Optimizing your internal search engine to provide specified results can increase the effectiveness of your website.
Google Custom Search Engine
Google Custom Search Engine is by far the most popular product currently available. However, I am completely dissatisfied with this Google product. It is clunky, difficult for my feeble mind and challenging for volunteers to update. I want a search engine that makes it easy to predefine what content will display and what content won’t display for any particular search engine. My church’s current website is a HORRIBLE example of this. We use Google Custom Search Engine, but as you can see, a simple search for winter camp renders 3 pages of results. I want a better solution.
Swiftype Plugin for WordPress & API
For this blog I’ve chosen to use the WordPress plugin for Swiftype. Swiftype is visually clean and an easy to use service available for free (limited features). The feature that I am in love with (and is free) is the Results Control. With Results Control you can query your site’s search engine and promote different content or hide other content. I applied results control to the term “email” and now the results you see for email are only those which I allow and are in the order I have dictated.
Your Turn to Share
Do you currently employ a custom search engine for your site? Have you used Google Custom Search Engine or Swiftype? How do you leverage the power of search?