Funnelback Seminar - London School of Economics Case Study: Benefits of using Funnelback Search
At the Funnelback Seminar on the 31st of March, Stephen Emmott, Head of Web Services at the London School of Economics and Political Science, presented a case study detailing the changes and benefits which the LSE have realised through the use of Funnelback Search on their websites.
Here are Stephen's slides followed by an overview of the key points of his talk:
- The LSE launched a new website in 2009 and needed an effective search solution to be able to search their 40+ websites and make deeply buried content easier to find.
- They replaced Google Mini with Funnelback, primarily because it includes Contextual Navigation functionality which creates sub-topics in the search results, based on the query term and search data, to help the user refine the search results and navigate to the content they are looking for. Additionally, Funnelback offers performance improvements as the indexing, crawling and query processing can be separated, reducing server load and improving response times.
- The LSE now have improved search results, a more user-friendly results page which is easier to navigate, faster search times and much more control over search performance and results rankings.
- The LSE use Funnelback's Pattern Analyser to keep track of search data and recognise changes in user behaviour. Pattern changes can indicate ares of the site which need to be updated or amended to respond to user's needs, or to pre-empt future needs.
- Stephen described how Funnelback search data and reports have highlighted the need for changes and improvements to site content. He warned against the temptation to fiddle too much with the administration powers of Funnelback to rectify such situations. Whilst it is easy to make changes to search rankings, it is often the case that changes need to be applied to the actual page content rather than to the search system. Checking the page and advising the content owner to adjust the copy, metadata or structure, is often the more appropriate course of action. This often has the additional benefit of improving the SEO of the page or site, which in turn can have a positive effect on external website search results on Google, Bing, Yahoo! and other search engines.
- Stephen ended by pointing out that the implementation of Funnelback has reduced the human resources required to maintain performance of the LSE's website search. Much of the fine-tuning of the system is performed automatically and diagnostic information is easier and less time-consuming to extract from the Funnelback interface.