Making sure that your search engine can make it as easy as possible for your customers to find what they are looking for is business-critical. It is also extremely tough – great search engines can cost an awful lot of cash and require a lot of constant effort to keep them up to scratch.

As an example: about Monday 12th December 2005, I wanted to buy a copy of Jamie Oliver’s new prepare book Jamie’s Italy from. So , I just went to the “Books” area of their website and searched for “olivers italy” and these 9 items appeared on the results page:

1 . “The American Tractor” by Meat W. Ertel 2 . “A Garden in Lucca: Selecting Paradise in Tuscany” simply by Paul Gervais 3. “History in Rel├ęgation: Memory and Identity on the Borders of this Balkans” simply by Pamela Ballinger 4. “Oliver Tractors” by simply Jeff Hackett, Mike Schaefer 5. “Wyoming (Moon Hand books S. )” by Wear Pitcher 6. “Wines of Australia (Mitchell Beazley Wine Guides)” by simply James Halliday 7. “All Music Guide to Jazz: The Definitive Guide to Jazz Music” by Ron Wynn (Editor), et al. 8. “Larousse Gastronomique: The World’s Finest Cookery Encyclopedia” by Succeed Montagne on the lookout for. “The Teacher’s Calendar: The Day-By-Day Submission site to Vacations, Historical Occurrences, Birthdays and Special Times, Weeks and Months” by simply Holly McGuire (Compiler), ainsi que al.

Jamie Oliver’s book failed to appear anywhere on the effects page, although it had been Amazon’s 3rd best selling book in the previous 24 hours.

The problem is that I had typed “olivers italy”, instead of “oliver’s italy” (which would have delivered Jamie Oliver’s at the top of the search results list). That sole missing apostrophe was everything it took pertaining to Amazon’s costly search engine to splutter, street to redemption over and are unsuccessful.

Therefore – any time Amazon can’t do it, it must be impossible, right?

Wrong – here are a few things the boys & girls at Amazon could – and should – currently have thought about.

Two types of problems

There are two basic types of conditions that a user may experience when searching for anything:

– User-error – the correct search phrase is came into incorrectly (i. e. the user intends to a search term that would trigger the search engine to come back results which can be relevant to their demands, but they enter it incorrectly). – Search engine problem – an incorrect search term is entered (i. e. an individual enters research online term which the search engine will not relate to all their needs).

User error

People generally enter the correct key phrase incorrectly because they both:

– Don’t know the right way to spell this. – Make a keying error

It’s important to realise that there are millions of potential customers exactly who can’t mean very well. For instance , a 2003 survey in the literacy (i. e. examining and writing) estimated that there were 16% of English adults (aged 16 to 65-year-olds) acquired literacy levels no higher than those anticipated of an 14 year-old (source: The Skills forever Survey).

Also, let’s not forget that according to the British Dyslexia Connections around 4% of the world are seriously dyslexic and a further 6% have slight to average dyslexia concerns.

Which means your search engine has to be the reason for people producing basic knowledge-based spelling faults.

Your search engine should account for folks that know how to spell what they are looking for, but produce typing errors. The main kinds of typing problem are:

– Personas close to each other on the keyboard being got into erroneously (either in place of — or moreover to – the correct letter). For example: wrong/wring; for/dfor. – Characters simply being omitted. Including: missing/missng; oliver’s/olivers. – Character types being moved into too many situations. For example: impossible/imposssible. – Roles being went into in the incorrect order. One example is: disaply/display; being/ebing.

Your engine should allow people to make these types of mistakes but still return useful and relevant results.

Even though we now have named these kinds of issues? Individual error’, should your search engine does not return information that the user is looking to get it is, naturally , your fault and not their own!

Search engine error

When people enter the wrong term into a search engine, it is only wrong because you could have not awaited it. You should aim to cover as many facets and anticipate as many completely different search terms as it can be.

The direction to go

The next steps for making your search engine perform better are really simple:

– Sit down and make a list of all the spelling errors, typing errors and substitute search terms that you just think may perhaps be relevant to your webblog (e. g. actually take a look at your computer keyboard and think about what letters are close to 1 another). — Ask other folks in your business to make similar lists. – Do some groundwork into what search terms individuals are using with your site (e. g. selection interviews, questionnaires, check your search engine records, etc . ) – Apply everything you learn to your search engine.

And that’s it. You now have the knowledge you need to begin improving your site’s search engine.

Other thoughts

– Improvements in expression processing software have made persons lazy typists. Software that auto-corrects a large number of spelling and typing mistakes means that folks are no longer required to review and deal with their job to the same extent just as the past. Which means many people are getting away from the behavior of exact spelling/typing. So , when they move out of an auto-correcting environment (and onto a site, for example) they are very likely to make — and less going to notice/correct — mistakes!

– Listings pages should certainly display the search term the person entered in large text (e. g. 28pt). This can help people spot any inadvertent errors. Search engine pages should also supply telephone figures for client enquiries/assistance.