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Honored Contributor

Google search in communities

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Hi All.

 

Silly question but is there anybody out there who is using the google search bar integrated in the communities vs the lithium out of the box search?

 

Google search is the major search engine and familiar to a large population of users. I wonder if there are benefits to integrating google search within the community but realize this might be quite unorthodox...

 

Any feedback or thoughts on this topic? :-) Welcome them all 

 

Thanks
Wendy

Learning from others and helping where I can!
Community Passionista!
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Esteemed Contributor
Esteemed Contributor

Re: Google search in communities

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3rd party search tools can complement Lithium's native search if you want to include other subdomains or setup federated search, but I would not replace native Lithium search with them. You lose the ability to filter by important community specific metadata (accepted solutions, kudos..etc). 

 

community.arubanetworks.com uses Google Search Appliance for global search, it's added to the search box as a 4th option (in addition to community, user, TKB)

 

 

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Honored Contributor Honored Contributor
Honored Contributor

Re: Google search in communities

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Thank you!

But they did not actually implement google search as a replacement to the native community search, right?

 

http://community.arubanetworks.com/t5/forums/searchpage/tab/message?q=test

 

Cheers

Wendy

Learning from others and helping where I can!
Community Passionista!
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Re: Google search in communities

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@Wendy_S Hey Wendy, did you end up using Google Search in your Community?

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Honored Contributor Honored Contributor
Honored Contributor

Re: Google search in communities

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Nope, we haven't.
We have made a small change with Lithium to the algorithm which has driven a nice small improvement but we're still far from an ideal solution. Grazitti appears to have a really great tool with Unified Search which we're exploring (looks like a great product btw!) and we're hiring a content strategist who will start in the new year. Basically we're still in exploration mode and want to have our content strategy be influencing solution find ability as well so we're going to put our heads together and re-strategize Content and Search.

Have you been thinking about using google search. I have not seen it used very often I must admit. Perhaps others around here have any experience?

Cheers!
Wendy
Learning from others and helping where I can!
Community Passionista!
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Re: Google search in communities

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We wonder if we change to google in 1 Q next year. Still it's more exploration mode than something must have, but we will see. If we go further with this, I will share the findings.
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Re: Google search in communities

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Thanks Wendy! Did you make the change to the algorithm through Lithium professional services or were you able to make it yourself? 

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Honored Contributor

Re: Google search in communities

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I do wonder whether embedding Google search on the community could be the way forward. 

 

We did some user testing last year and I was surprised at how ineffective our community search currently is for the way many people were using it. 

 

Watching people in testing, they were often typing full sentences into the search box like they obviously do with Google rather than just keywords. This was resulting in a large number of search results, with many unwanted topics at the top. For example, users were typing "How to paint a bathroom" rather than just "paint bathroom" so they would get all posts on the site titled “how to”, most of which were not relevant to them, such as "How to become a barbecue master". Meanwhile, generic painting discussions like "Painting tips" and "Share your best painting tips" which would have been helpful were not displayed for them. 

 

It also seemed search was doing a poor job on synonyms. I saw people searching for topics that I knew existed on the community, but because they were not using the correct search word the relevant posts were not surfacing, and they gave up and dismissed the site as not having the information that they needed. It was very frustrating to watch from behind the glass!

 

Overall, we found that when searching for content, participants found it hard to determine if search terms were relevant to their initial query. Participants appeared to notice and use the bolded text along with discussion titles within the search results as a way of determining relevance, while paying no attention to other indicators such as filtering options or the icons depicting what type of content the terms had appeared in.

 

We think a big help to users would be providing more assistive statements and an alternative pathway if the search isn’t returning results of use the user, helping to reduce the number of users abandoning search. For example, 'Not what you were looking for? Try searching for...'.

 

Jason 

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Re: Google search in communities

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Absolutely. One of the regular pieces of feedback we receive from our members (and staff!) is how inefficient the search is. Despite even knowing the keywords and language, our staff struggle to find the right piece of content. We especially have difficulties because accepted solutions are prioritized in the search options over any other content, which means our "how to" content is either at the bottom of the list or doesn't appear at all. 

This affects our members who don't know the keywords, or as you mentioned Jason, typing in a full sentence and not finding what they're expecting to find. 

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Honored Contributor

Re: Google search in communities

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I accept this point from @ac -  You lose the ability to filter by important community specific metadata (accepted solutions, kudos..etc) - but in our testing no one used the filters. I am going to investigate further, but I do understand that search is an area that Lithium is investing in.

 

@EmilyBilling - could you label your How to content as an Accepted Solution?

 

Jason

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