Creating useful content is only half the battle won—it is also important for you to make sure that your readers are able to find information without any hassle. This is only made possible by using ‘search’!
While several websites choose search as a tool for information discovery, visitors often come across some challenges while using it, including –
- Irrelevant results
- Search yielding no results
- Large search results
As a result, your users might give up the search and exit the site without having found the information that they need.
As MadCap Flare experts, we tell you how you can improve the quality of your search results with these optimization tips. Let’s dive in.
Choose the search engine
Start by selecting the type of search engine for your documentation—MadCap Search or Google Search. Here are the steps you need to follow to set up either of these search engines:
- MadCap Search: Includes setting the search results along with the number of results on a single page and the character limit, and adding glossary terms.
- Google Search: Includes defining the URL, adding the sitemap, excluding TOC from indexing, submitting the site for indexing, and taking care of the appearance of the results.
Add an apt meta description
An HTML element that describes and summarizes the contents of your page, meta descriptions are stored as metadata in the <head> tag in the topic. In HTML5, meta descriptions are used as snippets in search results to let visitors know what a page is about before they click on it.
In topic properties, the dialog author can add a meta description in MadCap Flare. Here is how you can create an effective meta description –
- Make sure the meta description is well-written and is sufficiently descriptive of the page content
- Keep in mind the optimal length, that is between 68-155 characters
- Avoid keyword stuffing
Include index keywords
Some search engines may also recognize the index keywords that you include. MadCap Flare’s search engine looks at index keywords when ranking search results, so make sure that you insert important keywords into your topics.
Create synonym groups
Another way to improve your results is by creating synonym groups of words in MadCap Flare, that will help in searching with a variety of words. These words have a similar meaning to what you have used in your topics.
For example, If you are talking about ‘information’ in the topic, the user can assume information as data, facts, or figures. Hence, you can add all similar words that will help enhance your search results.
Add a search filter
It is a good idea to include a filter in the search feature. It enables users to control their search based on concepts that you have inserted into topics. Concepts are simply markers that you add to topics that have some kind of relationship with each other. They are also used for inserting concept links into topics.
Enable search result importance
In HTML5 output, MadCap Flare’s search engine uses a combination of factors to rank search results. When you search, the search engine considers the number of links to a topic (Importance) as well as the number of times a search term appears in a topic.
As a result, this gives you the most accurate results. You can choose to turn off Importance, and search using only the number of search term hits in each topic. This is not recommended unless you have one topic that is linked so many times, that it would skew your search results.
Improving the search results on your website is an extremely crucial step as it has the power to revolutionize how your visitors find what they’re looking for. The tips in this blog can help you optimize your search and boost traffic as well.
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