3 ways to improve searchability

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  • 3 Ways to Improve SearchabilityTheresa PutkeyInformation Architect & Taxonomisttputkey@keypointe.ca@tputkeywww.keypointe.ca

  • Search is an afterthought, even though we say users can use it to find everything*.

    *the kitchen sink, my missing sock, my sunglasses that I took on vacation and were lost in my suitcase for 2 months

  • Why Do I Care About Searchability?

    Search is one of the two main ways users find information

    Search is easy to implement but hard to make effective Users are typically untrained searchers and need help

  • Users change search strategy only 1% of the time; 99% of the time they plod along a single unwavering path.

    Whether the true number is 2% or 0.5%, the big-picture conclusion is the same: users have extraordinarily inadequate research skills when it comes to solving problems on the Web.

    Jakob Nielsen www.nngroup.com/articles/incompetent-search-skills/

  • What Is Searchability?

    Definition: The ease with which users can search for information on your site. Users start with the search box, enter a term, and then continue to refine their results either with filters or more search terms.

  • What Is Searchability?

    In this context, I am talking about on-site search, or internal search, and not external search from a search engine.

  • 3 Steps to Identify Searchability Problems

  • Look at Site Search Analytics

    Site search analytics essentially keep track of everything that users have searched for on your site

    What are the most frequently searched terms?

  • Look at Metadata and Taxonomy

    Are you using metadata and taxonomy? Are you using them consistently? Can users filter search results by metadata and

    taxonomy? Does your taxonomy support synonyms and


  • Test It!

    Doing user testing helps find more problems Plan and conduct user testing that focuses on search

    and search results refinement Problems can include unclear use of filters, badly laid

    out filters, or a badly designed search results page

  • Fixing Searchability Problems

  • Site Search Analytics

    Go on! Search for those frequently searched terms. See what comes up. Are these results appropriate?

    Can the site search be adjusted to show promoted results?

    Why arent the right pages showing up? Could it have something to do with metadata and taxonomy?

  • Metadata and Taxonomy

    Improve the metadata and taxonomy Improve the synonyms and keywords in the taxonomy Use metadata and taxonomy consistently Improve the search engine results page to show filters

  • User Testing Results

    Prioritize the findings from the user testing Plan how to resolve these issues either on the web

    team, with the content creators, or the website/IT team

  • Whats Next?

  • Learn More

    Follow the Key Pointe Newsletter at http://bit.ly/2atccXl

    Read Ambient Findability by Peter Morville Read Search Analytics for Your Site by Louis

    Rosenfeld Read Designing the Search Experience by Tony



  • Theresa Putkeytputkey@keypointe.cawww.keypointe.ca@tputkeyca.linkedin.com/in/tputkey604 563 6317