The Episerver Content Management platform supports many different add-ons that enrich the user experience on websites. One of these add-ons is called Episerver Find, currently being implemented in digital platforms for several clients. With Episerver Find I change the way users search for content on a digital touchpoint, allowing me and my developer colleagues to create custom search behavior and experiences. In this blog I will discuss Episerver Find and share some of the experiences from our Episerver development team.
How does Episerver Find work?
Episerver Find is a highly customizable search engine that gives developers and web administrators the ability to build custom search experiences on Episerver websites. For example, Episerver Find can store website content in a remote JSON API, which makes retrieving content a quick and easy job. By combining easy content retrieval together with search optimization and other build in features of Episerver Find, developers can create custom search experiences for end users. Because Episerver Find stores content in a lightweight way, it allows us to use information of website content in cases where speed is critical, like creating dynamic navigation, custom pages based on search terms or enriching search results.
What insights does Episerver Find offer?
Besides storing content, Episerver Find also allows you to optimize the search experience and can give you insights on all search behavior of your website. In order to manage this, Episerver Find creates a separate panel in an Episerver CMS where you can find different statistics like:
- Most frequent searches
- Searches with relevant hits
- Searches without hits
Once you know what users search for you can start optimizing the search experience. Episerver Find supports multiple features that allow you to create recommendations for your users so that you can show them relevant content. First off, you can change what parts of content Episerver Find will focus on when searching for results. When you have a website, where users search for books or movies, it could be more useful to prioritize the search on the title of content rather than other parts of the content. This is where Episerver Find’s boosting feature comes in handy. With boosting, you can select which parts of content are more valuable in a websites search behavior.
The optimizations that I have discussed so far are not very noticeable for our end users, so next up we will discuss something more visual.
The first of these optimizations is called best bets. With best bets, you can create recommendations to content on your site based on phrases that users enter. A bet can be anything from a link to page to a stylized block complete with description and pictures. This way you can present relevant content in a customizable way.
Secondly, you can generate landing pages that collect and display relevant content for a user based on a search that a user has made. This way you do not need to create separate landing pages, but you just create a single page that can be used in multiple situations. This feature will save development time and allows your platform to choose which items are the most relevant for your users. These optimizations are just a few examples of ways how Episerver Find can help you create optimized and dynamic search experiences.
In my experience Episerver Find is a great add-on to any Episerver website that offers many search features. It gives developers and website owners a lot of control on what content is shown and many possibilities to customize it for their needs. Episerver Find’s out of the box features such as statistics and boosting give quick opportunities to improve the user experience while bigger features such as automatic landing pages can save content creators much time.