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SEO for the Easysite Search Engine

SEO for the Easysite Search Engine

Configuring the Easysite search engine in order to generate the optimum results for users searching within the site.


Do you have the content your end users are looking for?

You have pages and assets on your site, but do you know what your end users are looking for. Stats give information on the most and least popular pages on the site. However, it is worth investing time to discover what users are looking your site.

An obvious port of call is Google Analytics. It is strongly recommended that web managers use some form of analytics software in order to gain an understanding of how the site is used.

In addition to third party applications a number of Easysite features can be used to provide data on user searches. The search report details search terms entered into the site together with the number of matches returned. To view the Search Report go to Administration -> Reports -> Search Report. Note: a specific privilege may be required to view this report.

For newer sites without a detailed reporting history 'Personas' are often developed in order to understand the needs of potential end users. Personas are fictional characters which are typically used in the user-centred design process to represent the different user types of a website. Understanding the motivations of your end user base can inform how content is worded and presented on your site. For example, if a typical user is an early adopter who is primarily interested in the specification and performance of a product or service, information would be presented differently than for a cost conscious customer who is looking for pricing information.

EIBS can offer support in relation to User Experience. Please contact your account manager for further information.

What content should be found by the search?

Once it has been determined that the site content is appropriate for the needs of your end users, the next consideration is what pages should be returned by the search engine. The objective is to reduce 'noise' in search results and provide end users with shorter lists of results featuring core information. For example, a section of a site may comprise a landing page and a number of children and grandchildren. Do the sub pages need to be returned in the search results list, or will the landing page provide the user with the required information as well as options to navigate to additional related content?

Pages may be hidden from search in order to ensure that only key content is returned via search results. It is also worth considering how Scheduling may be used to manage search results. If a user is searching for information on a particular venue or location in the autumn it is valid to present a news story about the upcoming Christmas Market. However, this page has no value the following spring, so should be expired or deleted.

Basic search configuration

Basic search engine behaviours may can be configured at Administration -> Content -> Search -> Search Items. it is recommended that these settings are tested on a UAT copy of a site, in order to understand how the optimum search results may be produced. Note that the search cache should be allowed to rebuild overnight in order to fully understand the impact of any changes made to the search settings.

Search type

Consider whether the search should provide exact or inflectional matches to search terms. This will depend on content and end user behaviour, however, exact matches will typically return fewer results.

Search mode

In addition to the search type, consider how terms of more that one word are searched. The option 'OR with Exact Phrase will produce the broadest list of matches. For example, if the phrase 'Search Mode' is entered a search term, 'OR with Exact Phrase' will return content which includes the words 'search', 'mode' and 'search mode'. A better alternative may to select the AND option. In this instance the search would only return content which includes both words.


Weightings may be used to rank search items based upon where the search term occurs. Any numbering convention may be used to populate weightings, and the numbers used are proportional. For example, if H1 Heading is set at 5 and Content is set at 1, a search word occurring in the page heading will be regarded as being five times more important than a word appearing in the general written content of the page.

Again, it is important to review and understand site content before applying changes to weightings - there is no advantage to be gained in giving Meta Data a high weighting, if pages do not have a Summary (which typically populates the Description meta tag) or keywords. Note that in order to maintain a consistent vocabulary of keywords, it may be worth setting the keywords meta tag to populate from the page categories as opposed to authors populating keywords on an ad hoc basis.

Featured Items

If Featured Items are utilised, these are presented first in the search results under a separate heading to other items. The following objects may be marked as Featured:

  • Pages (via the General interface)
  • Directory entries (via the Properties interface)

Note: Assets may be marked as featured. However, featured assets are currently only displayed via dedicated asset elements such as the Asset Manager page element.

Featured items themselves are ranked based upon relevance. However it is recommended that Boost Featured Item Ranking is selected. This option will automatically double any weightings applied via the search settings.

Advanced Search

The Search page element includes the option to enable an Advanced Search. End users should be given an option to perform an Advanced Search, either by selecting the Show Advanced Search Option in the Search page element to add the advanced option to the search results page. or by adding an advanced search button to the header alongside the standard search function.

Show Date Filter

it is useful to offer end users a date range to search within, as this allows the user filter out content such as archived news and focus on new content.

Show Category Filter

The category filter option allows administrators to create a category based dropdown list of content 'types' that end users may search within. A Category Alias - a friendly name - is created and one or more categories associated with the alias. For example, alias could be created for Media Centre content (news and press release categories) as opposed to Products or Services. The home page of the Resource Centre includes an option to search 'Information Types'. This example was created utilising the Search Framework module rather than the standard Search option, however it serves to illustrate the basic concept.

Search Framework

The Search Framework module allows for further configuration of search results.


The Search Framework presents the option to highlight search terms in the list of results. In addition, search results may be displayed in a single list, rather than grouped by type, with icons utilised to identify the type of object being listed. Additional search options such as category filters and time periods (as opposed to date ranges) may be enabled as filters. Moreover, as the Search Framework uses an API, custom views of the search results may also be created.


The Search Framework includes a number of useful reporting tools. End users may be allowed to report issues with searches, and null returns are captured. The Unsuccessful Search Report links directly to the Synonym Rings interface. This would allows administrators to associate search terms utilised by end users with corporate name for the same content search, for example 'news' and 'media centre'.

For information about the Search Framework please contact your Account Manager. 

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