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Onsite Search Engine
Posted 24 August 2004 - 06:44 AM
My website uses the "Google Free WebSearch and Site Search," customized on a page of its own with the website logo. About a month ago, I added a site map (finally!) and it too contains Google Free. It seemed like a logical thing to do. In addition, Google Free is one of the navigation links on all website pages, so the onsite search feature is quickly available to anyone who wants to use it.
The page containing Google Free onsite search, and the site map page as well, have been recently optimized to add key words in the Title and description tags. How effective? Too early to know. The results aren't in yet.
I have visited probably thousands of websites over the years, and most websites do not have any search engine capability. In my experience, websites that do have an onsite search engine (other than Google Free) generally produce useless, irrelevant, and frustrating information.
Even if visitors do not use Google Free, it's invaluable to you as a tool to quickly find and collect information about your website. As an example, I knew I had used the words "postcard competition" somewhere on one of the website pages, but which one? where izzit? Using Google Free I had the answer in a second. Since all pages of the website (about 250) have been indexed by Google, I now use Google Free to quickly find what I am looking for. For us older geezers who have both short term and long term memory loss, Google Free finds it fast. I won't leave home without it.
I'll be grateful for any feedback regarding your use of or experience with onsite search engines, generally, but especially Google Free Search and its overall effectiveness.
Thanks from Artifact
Posted 24 August 2004 - 07:01 AM
Yes, the Google free search is great, we use it here as an option on our search page. The only issue is that if Google doesn't have all your pages (and it often doesn't for very large sites) then those pages won't appear in your results.
Atomz appears to return relevant results. I agree though that many onsite search features leave a lot to be desired! Search isn't easy.
Posted 24 August 2004 - 07:06 AM
Posted 24 August 2004 - 07:15 AM
The results page can be customized to match the site template exactly (a bonus over Google) and I get weekly reports mailed to me of what phrases people searched on my site.
Another nice point (from SEO perspective) is I get access to an error log of Atomz spidering. Ever wonder why a page isn't being picked up. Check out the logs, what doesn't work for Atomz won't work in other SEO.
With Atomz you also can set the frequency of spidering or run it on demand. A nice feature when you just added some new content.
The only bad things about Atomz is it is only free to sites that are under 100 pages (at least that used to be the number) and it's a bit more difficult to configure then Google or other SE site search tools. Of course that difficulty are all the extra features.
Posted 24 August 2004 - 07:24 AM
Posted 24 August 2004 - 07:39 AM
I think the same rule applies to children.
The ramblings of one tired father.
Posted 24 August 2004 - 07:40 AM
Or just go into your Windows Explorer and search right on your hard drive. You do keep a backup of your site on your computer, don't you?
Posted 26 August 2004 - 06:57 AM
And amabaie, yes, I have a backup of my site in the computer, and another one on Iomega disks, in case C: disintegrates. After your post used Windows search as you suggested and found the file containing the words postcard competition. The reminder was timely--I have long neglected Windows search.
Posted 27 August 2004 - 05:51 AM
I think this a good point.
artifact. You say "me" "I".
Surely the emphisis should be on the visitor. If someone visits your site and cant find what they are looking for there are two possible answers...
It´s not on your site...
You haven't made it clear enough, with your navigation, how to find it.
How do you get visitors to enter the "postcard competition" if YOU cant find it.
Search is great but IMO your example was a little flakey.
Posted 08 September 2004 - 09:08 PM
Let's assume John visits my website. He wants to know if there are any website pages containing the words "postcard competiton". So he uses the onsite Google search engine, selects Images of Eyes Gallery, enters the words -- postcard competition -- and John will find (with Google's help) the one page in the gallery that contains the words postcard competition. (There is no postcard competition as such. Just someone looking for any page that might have the two words, that's all. )
In the example I gave that started this thread, I am not a visitor to the website. I'm the webmaster who knows there is a page somewhere containing the words, so I use GoogleFree and I found the the same result that John did.
Let's assume Rita makes a visit. Rita wants to know if there if there are any gallery pages containing the words -- figurative paintings --. Smart cookie that she is, Rita uses the onsite GoogleFree search engine, enters the words, and finds 20 results.
As to finding what you are looking for, Google indexes website content every few days, and I know that if I put new content on the server today, the new content will be available in GoogleFree in a day or two.
I don't see any search problem with website navigation, as there is a link to GoogleFree on every page in the navigation, and GoogleFree even gets its own page. It only takes me one click to get there.
As a matter of overall interest about having an onsite GoogleFree search engine, here are some current stats. At Google.com, on July 22, my website did not appear at all when using the search term -- Google search engine -- . After spending some time tweaking the title tag and description, today it is 119 out of 4,310,000 pages. Using the search term -- onsite Google search engine --, my website is in 1st position out of 132,000 pages. Using -- onsite search engine -- , it is 14/751,000. Not bad at all.
I hope this clears up any confusion anyone might have had with my example. You can duplicate any of the results mentioned here.
Posted 09 September 2004 - 03:30 PM
Posted 09 September 2004 - 03:36 PM
No problem, just set up a search form that goes to a script that logs the search phrase, and then redirects the visitors to Google's result page for that term. Pretty simple in most cases....
Posted 09 September 2004 - 03:53 PM
Posted 09 September 2004 - 07:28 PM
Your point is well taken, but it doesn't take into account circumstances where visitors are told, right up front, that some pages may be missing, albeit for only a day or two. Everyone who uses onsite Google on my website sees the following words:
"You can use the Google search engine to search the content of the text of all web pages of the Images of Eyes Gallery. If new pages are added to the Gallery today, its content will ordinarily be indexed by Google a day or two later. "
I think this is a user-friendly full disclosure that the search results may be incomplete. New exhibits are added to the gallery about twice a month, and each addition is only 3-4 new pages. A slow growing website, but these new exhibits often take more time to complete and get online than anyone might expect.
Anyone thinking of using Google Free should not be dissuaded from using it on their website just because a few pages of content may be missing for a day or two, so long as viewers are told that fact. Take everything about your website into account and then decide if Google Free will benefit your viewers. If you think it might work for your website, and give your viewers onsite search ability, why not give it a go?
Posted 10 September 2004 - 09:26 AM
I think your full disclosure policy is spot on and seems to work very well for a site such as yours - ie. already in the index and only growing relatively slowly.
However, while I'm in no way anti Google Free, it should be said that there does seem to be a problem with new, large, especially dynamic sites not being fully indexed by Google for several months.
Some have even said that some new large sites NEVER get all their pages indexed by Google, but I have not personally seen this happen.
So, in these cases, AtomZ may be a better choice than Google Free.
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