Many users have asked why their pages do not show up in onsite searches. There are a variety of things you can do to make it easier for users to find your pages. This page explains how search works and how to ensure your content is easy to locate!
As of this posting, there are 5,369 documents included in the search and 146,135 search terms indexed for searching!
How Search Works
The site indexes pages, attachments (files) and topics for search. Search results are ordered by relevance meaning the page with the most instances of the users search query will appear first.
Search queries with multiple terms use “OR” logic. This means if you search for “Developmental Disabilities” the search engine will find all of the pages that mention “Developmental” OR “Disabilities”. Pages that use both words the most times will be considered the most relevant.
Page elements are “weighted”. This means that the search engine puts a much higher priority on matching terms in some areas than others. The Page Title is the most heavily weighted element. Terms in the page title are five times more relevant than the same term in the page content. Page categories are weighted very low.
Finally, searches are “throttled” to 500 items for server performance. This means that a search will never return more than 500 results.
How To Optimize for Search
Now that you understand how the search engine prioritizes content, here are things you can do to help your pages be more relevant:
- Think about the words users use when searching for your content
- Make sure to use those words in the title of your page. For instance, if you are creating a Resources page for Medicaid, name the page “Medicaid Resources” not just “Resources”
- While page content is lower priority than the title, it’s still important. Make sure descriptive words that users might search for appear in content
- Be conservative. If all of your pages have “Medical” in the title, it will be hard for the search engine to know what is the most relevant. Be specific and targeted with your terms and descriptors to differentiate page titles
The search engine used on this site is called Relevanssi. The weighting and other settings can be tuned in Settings > Relevanssi. The current settings are recommended best practices and should not be changed unless there is a clear reason for doing so!