Our search function might be in perfect shape, and not need any adjustments at all. If not, it is time to take control of the internal search function. Since the search function uses the content of the pages on the site the process mostly starts with improving the most important pages.
So, this is three things you can do to begin with:
- Build bridges between the terms that your users use and the terms on the website
There is often a difference. What you call “bin collection” might be called “rubbish” by your users. One way of dealing with this is to integrate the terms used by your audience on the webpage.
If a term should not be used on the website, the search engine can be set up to expand a search query for that term and search for the synonym present on the website as well.
- Give the search results relevant and specific titles
The best place to do this is on the page itself - either in the title or the heading. If that is not possible you might be able to adjust the titles shown in your internal search tool.
- Make sure the most relevant pages are being ranked highest.
Your search tool should be in line with the strategy for the website in general. If the goal for your website is for the users to use self service options, self service pages should be ranked highest, followed by pages with background information about the service. If your websites main goal is to promote the skills of the people working there, person profiles should of course be ranked highest. Sometimes there will be a need to refer to an external website or one your subsites that is relevant to the query at hand.
In most cases minutes, forum posts and old news should be ranked low, so they only display if not other information is relevant for a query.
If your start working on these three points, a small effort will get you a long way! Now i do that way, improving our internal search with my budy @aagmdk. Will see… 1-2-3-4