Enhancing Your Estrada Search Engine's Performance
A paper to Web site administrators and authors in using their Estrada search engines more productively
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The Estrada search is already an efficient, sophisticated utility; however, there are ways in which you can structure your site’s content in order to enhance its performance even more.
Page Title Only or Full-Text Search?
Estrada’s search engine offers two methods for searching content within your Web site. The page title search option restricts searches to words in page and site brick titles only. This method searches all page and site titles within your content, regardless of how new the content is. The full-text search encompasses all of a site’s content; however, it relies on indexing all the content, which is scheduled to occur periodically by the Estrada site administrator. (Consult your Estrada system administrator to find out how often your site is indexed.)
How do you decide which search option is best for your situation? Consider whether or not time-sensitive content is an important part of your site. If your Web site relies upon breaking news or if timely news is an important part of your site, you need to first find out how often your site is indexed for full-text searches. If it is not frequently enough for your needs, inquire whether if your Estrada administrator can schedule it to occur more often. If more frequent indexing is not possible, the page title search option may be more appropriate since it enables dynamic, up-to-the-second searches, albeit only of page brick titles.
Ask if timeliness is important to visitors using the search engine where you plan to insert it. For example, it may be important to use the dynamic page title search in the News Release sub-site of your Estrada installation because timeliness is crucial in this situation. However, a full-text search may make more sense within sub-sites that are not updated as frequently.
Global Versus Site Search
When should you use a global search (which encompasses your entire Estrada installation) or a site search (limits searches to only the site in which the search brick is located and any sub-sites within that site)?
Again, consider your visitors’ expectations and needs when choosing between global and site-specific searches. If visitors click a search button or use a search field located on a site’s home page, they generally expect that their search will encompass the entire site.
The key is to establish appropriate expectations for the search engine. If you include directions or descriptions that clearly state what the search will encompass, you can change your visitors’ expectations. This approach is frequently used on many sites, such as where search engines include introductory text such as, “Search our catalog” or “Search our news releases.” In these cases, visitors understand from the accompanying text that their search will be restricted to a particular content area or type.
Note that, when using a site-specific search, it is a good idea to offer a link to a global search elsewhere within your Estrada installation as a backup for any searches that may return no results.