The search function is one of the most important and powerful tools on any interface and on your platform it is no different. It allows users to search not only within the page they are on, but across all searchable corners of the platform. So what types of content are searchable?
On the platform, a user can search through:
- Names of news channels
- News posts: Title, teaser text, and article text
- Plugin titles
- Employee Directory (activation required)
- Open group contents (activation required)
- Launchpad app titles (activation required)
- Microsoft 365 contents (activation required)
Functionality of our Search
Our search indexes platform contents, so that when a user makes a search, results can be quickly scanned and ranked using factors, such as keyword-relevance and edit date. Search is not only a critical function for allowing users to find specific content quickly, but it also allows content creators to make content easier for users to discover.
When a user begins typing, the search immediately begins suggesting matches and narrows them down with each letter added. These instant results allow users to discover content in addition to those they were originally searching for.
When ranking results, the search takes into account factors like the publication date or if the search term is used in the title. With the dropdown menus for sorting, users can put search results that are relevant for them on top. For now, this is only available on desktop.
Users often have a rough idea of what they are looking for, e.g. remember the author or the channel where the content was published. These clues can be applied as filters and refine the search results to a small, relevant selection. The five most relevant channels or authors can be selected for filtering. For now, this is only available on desktop.
When users are looking for very specific information, sometimes finding the right page is not enough, particularly on long informational pages. That is where the on-page search comes in. The on-page saves your users time and energy by highlighting and jumping to the user’s search term anywhere where it occurs on the page. This even includes results hidden in accordions, which automatically open when clicking through the results.
Open Group Content in Search Results
Open groups offer a wealth of information. However, the flood of information can get out of hand if a user subscribes to too many open groups. Instead, 'open content' can be made available to all users via search. This means that users can still find content from open groups in their search results, even if they are not members of the respective group.
Making Content Discoverable
But what active measures can you as an administrator, author, or editor take to make content easier for users to find via search?
- Configure searchable profile fields
You can set any user profile field as searchable in your platform. This means users can search not only by name, but also by department, location, or any other custom profile fields you may have set up for your organization. This also means that if a user is searching for information, for example, about a certain department, they will also receive user results for coworkers working in that department, encouraging employees to learn more about their coworkers.
- Use Keywords in Titles
When creating titles for your content, be sure to think from a search perspective as well. Ask yourself what a user would search if they wanted to find this content. Use these keywords in the title of your content to make it easier for users to find. Not only will content rank higher if the title contains exact matches to the search term, but users are also more likely to click on content whose title clearly contains their search term.
- Use Synonyms in the Text Body
Using a variety of synonyms for your keywords in the text body can be advantageous in certain types of content, such as pages and news posts. For example, if you have used the term ‘paid leave’ in the title of a news post, but a user searches ‘vacation days,’ this news post will still appear in the user’s search results if the words ‘vacation days’ have been used in the text body.
- Utilize Open Group Content
The platform allows the possibility to include open group content in the search results. Previously, a user could only see pages, posts, plugins, and other open group content if they had actively joined the group. By activating this feature, you allow users to discover these open group contents as part of a search even if they are not members of the group. Users may realize that there are groups around their interests that they did not know about.
Implement these strategies to help your users make the most of your platform.