Far too few websites have setup Boosting of pages for their website search, and if you are part of this group you could be losing potential customers, due to a bad search experience. Whether you have an important page that needs promotion, or old documents you would like to avoid, Boostings can give you the exact site search results you want.
What is Boosting?
Boosting is the process of setting a value of how important a page is to your websites search functionality. Boostings allow you to customize your search results by promoting or deprioritizing certain areas of your website.
Understanding your search engine
Before we explain why and how you should setup Boosting of your website’s content, it is important to understand how your site’s search engine works.
For example: If you go to your banks website and do a search for “credit card” you will get a list of results. The ranking of these results are based on a score. The results are ordered based upon this score, so the highest score is shown first. The scoring is calculated by looking at how many times the search word, in this case “credit card”, is found on the page. The more appearances, the higher the score. Usually the search engines are a bit more advanced, so in the credit card example, if “credit card” is present in the title, it will get an even higher score, than if it is found in the content on the website.
Why you should use Boostings with your site content
Now that you are up to speed with the basics on how most search engines work, it’s time to look at how to boost your content.
The issue with the setup in the above example is that you might get pages where the person who wrote the article has been abusing the keyword “credit card”. You have likely experienced sites where a search query results in old news articles being shown on top, which is due to the search word being too heavily used in the content of the news article.
An example could be a webmaster writing a news piece about their “new Platinum Credit Card”, and while it is important to some, most people searching for credit card should be served pages about how to get a credit card and not the old news piece.
If Boostings are setup correctly the end result is a search result that simultaneously gets you more customers (since you can easily apply for a credit card), and if you are already a customer, provides service information about how to activate your credit card. A useful, relevant search can both help your bottom line, and make your existing customers a little less frustrated.
How to boost the content of your site
Depending on the technology you use for your search engine there are multiple ways of boosting the content on your website. Most technologies depend on a developer to do this for you, but with Cludo you can do it in the dashboard, as we’ll show later.
If your search solution is based upon the technology, Lucene, you can look at how they do scoring (see here). It explains the different ways of boosting your search results. When contacting your developer make sure that you already know which areas of your website you want to boost. It could be all sites beneath a certain path in the URL or it could be based on the category of the page.
How Cludo makes boosting easy
At Cludo we have had quite a few requests for our customers to be able to tweak the Boostings themselves. We have therefore released our own internal boosting tool, which we call “Engines”. With Engines you setup the Boosting on your website search.
A standard page has the value of 100%. If you set the Boosting value in Cludo to anything less than 100% you are setting the value of the pages lower, and if it is higher than 100% we give it an additional boost in the search results.
Imagine that you’ve searched on a fictive site for “credit card”, and you get the following results:
Note: The score in the example above is used for explaining the scoring system and to easily understand the calculations – they are never shown on your website.
In the example above you get news articles as the first two results, even though you as a business are more interested in getting new customers.
To fix this you could set the Boostings as shown above, in which I have set everything that contains the word “order” in the website address to be boosted by 200% (remember that 100% is standard), this gives the “Get your new Credit Card” page a score of 1600. To make sure we won’t have any news items coming up too high, I have lowered all news articles with a 50% boosting. This is a simplified example, and in a real world example you would probably set newer news articles to have a higher value than the older ones.
Result after Boostings have been adjusted:
This is just one example of how we can boost your content by using Cludo – there are many more ways to do it. The importance is that you actually do it, no matter if you are using Cludo to power your search or your own custom made search solution. To see Boostings in action, contact us today!