*Important Note: The following information only applies to users with Titan CMS v.6.8 or higher.
How smart is Google Search?
Imagine a shark-phobic swimmer getting ready for a day at the beach. The nervous user types “phark” instead of “shark.” Google figures it out on the first try:
Looks like I might need to take some swimming lessons…
Google has perfected the art of displaying search results, and the public knows it. Over 50% of online searches are performed on Google.
With Northwoods’ Titan Content Management System, you can incorporate many Google tricks into your site’s internal search. Your users will love you for it; you’ve aligned your search procedures with those of the world’s most popular and familiar search engine.
1. Monitor Keywords Searches
Keep an eye on user searches – they might surprise you. If you see the same search over and over again, it probably means that users can’t find what they seek intuitively as they browse your site’s content. Consider updating your navigation or information architecture.
How do you see what users are searching for? Navigate to the Smart Search option in the upper left-hand corner of your Titan CMS instance.
(Please note that Titan CMS v6.8 has revamped Smart Search to provide greater insights into the effectiveness of your site search. You can learn more about smart search here.) You will see this option in your Titan CMS instance only if you have set up site search for your website.
You will land on a screen that looks like this:
Now you can see your users’ search phrases, how often they search that term, when it was last searched, and more.
2. Create Smart Cards
After evaluating the data, I might update my navigation or content to better accommodate the more popular searches. But I could also create a card that automatically displays at the top of search results for a certain term. Each card would contain helpful information relevant to that specific search.
As the table above shows, many of our users search for more information about Titan CMS on our Northwoods website. This presents a great opportunity for us to direct users to our Titan CMS website. I have created a custom card that always displays at the top of results for the search terms “Titan” or “Titan CMS”:
This smart card includes a direct link to our Titan CMS website.
How do you set up a card in Titan CMS?
- Create a new page on your website and build out a free form block with the content you would like displayed in your card.
Build this page in the off-navigation section, so users will not be able to access it through your website.
- Go back to your Smart Search content and click on the edit button next to the keyword you want to trigger display of the card.
- Click on the green plus sign shown below the Editing: [Your Keyword] tab.
- Select the Content option at the top and navigate to that page you just created with the freeform block.
- Click okay. Then select the Card button under Type.
- You can choose to have this card option show up in your search results for multiple keywords by adding keywords under the Linked Keywords option.
- Save your work and test your site search to confirm that your card works as intended.
3. Segmented Search
Segmenting search results can also make it easier for users to find what they need. First, decide on the best way to group search results based on the content of your website. Popular segments include:
- File Type (PDF, Excel File, Images, etc.)
- Content Type (News, Blog, Press Release, etc.)
- Site Content
The groupings really depend on the purpose of your site and how your users search for content. For example, the law firm represented in the next screen shot segmented results by people, practice areas, news, updates, press releases and more. This helps users identify what type of content they can expect to find after they click on a link. Here, they can easily find an attorney or check out the latest press release.
Note that after a user performs a keyword search, the filter list shows the number of results in each category. Users can see all search results in one category by choosing the See All Items link, an option listed on the right-hand side of each category result.
Users can run an even more granular search by selecting a category within a filter. For example, by clicking on Blog Categories within the filter block, they can find blog topics that match their keywords search.
These Blog Categories may differ, depending on the original search. For example, if we change the search from “John” to “Tim,” we see different blog topics listed under Blog Categories. This new set of categories is tailored toward the new search and presents options of blogs associated with “Tim.”
Note: To set up segmented search on your website, you will need some CSS changes based on the design and layout of your site. Contact us today to get started.
You can learn more here about segmented search and how to set it up for your website.
4. User Query Spell Check
We all make mistakes. Expect your users to make them when they search your website. Help them out by turning on Spell Check User Query within your segmented search.
This option suggests revised search queries for misspellings:
5. Take Users to the Correct Page Right Away
Some uses prefer to go straight to your site search without browsing your navigation. Such queries tend to be obvious. Instead of taking them to a results page, take them directly to the page they seek.
At the Northwoods website, a user might notice that we list our blogs under the Learn tab of our navigation.
Still, a user might choose to jump straight to the site search and search “blog” or “blogs.”
Instead of taking the user to a search result page that looks like this:
Titan can automatically direct the user to our blog landing page:
How do I do this?
- Go to the Smart Search page of your Titan CMS login.
- Edit the keyword you want to update.
- Click on the green plus sign located below the Editing: [Your Keyword] tab.
- Choose the Content option and navigate to the landing page to which you want that keyword to link automatically.
- Click OK. Then select Direct under the Type column.
Now, when people search for “blog,” they will automatically go straight to our blog landing page instead of a search results page. Use this technique only in the most obvious cases. Directing users to pages they don’t expect or want degrades their experience.
Site search management is not a one-shot effort. It requires ongoing monitoring of search trends and adaptation as the market, your products and your services change, and user behavior changes along with them. Let the data direct you as you continue to make your site search easier and more effective.
Originally Published: Thu, July 06, 2017