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Sharp Search

Sharp Search tool generates useful and relevant search results on the first try of any search, even going so far as to provide real-time AJAX feedback, which provides users results as they type out their search term.   Pages in the CMS can be tagged with web experiences, topics and segments to allow the search to drill down through content and provide relevant search results every time. Superseding Search Keywords, page prioritizing and featured pages also allow users to guide how their site is searched.

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Website Interface

Sharp Search combines a familiar and easy to use "Search" box with a powerful content-matching search engine that provides users with relevant and timely results.  A user simply types in their search term, and they are provided with both results and methods of customizing the results that appear in order to suit their needs.   

When users attempt to use the Sharp Search to locate pages on your site, they will be provided with search results first ordered by Relevance.  They can choose to order the results by published date or alphabetical order as well,  and can winnow down the results by Interest, Result Type, and by "Protections", or which user tier has access to the page.  All of these can be customized by an Administrator, and how to do so can be seen here. Users will also be shown "Related Events", providing them with Event search results related to their search term.

Excluding Results

CMS users who are signed in are capable of setting links to be excluded from the search results.  By clicking the "Exclude Result" box, the URL will be brought up.  A "%" can be added to the URL to exclude all pages connected to that root URL.  This is the most efficient way to exclude search results, although there is a way to do so within the CMS.  Through this exclusion capability, Administrators can remove needless, redundant or controlled information from the search results for their site.  If sites are excluded through the Sharp Search search results, the exclusion will be immediate; a delay may take place for excluded results set through the Sharp Search administration in the CMS.

CMS Interface

Under the Content Tab, the Search section allows Administrators to control the functioning of the Sharp Search tool.  Administrators are capable of editing the Categories users can narrow their search results with, can edit the Excluded sites and pages, and can edit the Included sites and pages. 

 

Categories

The Categories section allows Administrators to alter, delete or add to interests, as well as Topics, Segments, Result Types and User Tiers (Public Access, Members Only, Non-Member, Firm Administrator). 

The Interests are imported from AM.Net, and are identical to the Web Experiences.  The Topics and Segments are identical to the Web Topics and Web Segments you create in the Web Experience portion of the Content Tab. When a page is tagged with a web experience, topic or segment, it will appear in the results when the search is narrowed by a particular Interest, Topic or Segment. 

Result Types are manually entered by an Administrator, and are used in the Inclusions portion of the Sharp Search administration to be applied to paths or parent and child pages.  User Tiers are the user access levels imported from AM.Net, and are applied to a page using the Properties tab.  When a page is tagged with, say, Firm Administrator, it will appear as a result when search results are narrowed by the Firm Administrator user tier.

The Categories section is used to narrow search results, and appear to the left of search results when using Sharp Search.  Under the Meta Definitions Administration for the Categories, an Administrator can set a Definition for an Interest, Topic or Segment, can edit or remove them, and can choose whether to use or omit a particular category.

 

Excludes

The CMS has another area to set site exclusions; this area is mostly for deleting or modifying exclusions, as adding an exclusion here will result in a delay in application of the exclusion.  However, it is possible to add exclusions here as well.  The Path can be set, and recall that a % placed in the URL will exclude all URLs connected to that root URL.  For example, if you put in an Exclusion: ://www.mysite.org/content%, you would exclude the content of your site, including any URL that begins with /.  

Includes

This are allows an Administrator to add pages and paths for the site to search, as well as to add categories to the pages and paths. To apply a Result Type to a path or parent and child page set, you create an Inclusion with for that result type category, then add the path or parent page you'd like the Result Type to apply to. An example is applying the Podcast result type to any search result that has an .mp3 in the path.

Categories and Follow Links

When editing an Inclusion, a user can add a path or a parent page; the path would be a URL, and the parent page would be a page ID from within your site.  This allows an Inclusion to be internal or external.  A Category, or multiple categories, can be assigned to the inclusion as well, in order to allow inclusions to be involved in narrowing search results.   Also, checking the "Follow Links" box will set the search engine to crawl the whole site of whatever path or parent page is set.  If you set an external link, you might want to crawl the whole site, say for an external Blog.  However, if you add a Youtube link, crawling the entire Youtube site would be impractical and not useful.  So, care should be taken when using the "Follow Links" box. 

 Categories can be added through a multiple-selection suggest box, meaning that as an Administrator types, the CMS will suggest categories for them to select. 

Sharp Search Properties Tab

The Sharp Search plugin is editable in the Website Tree, with properties administration for the functionality of the plugin.  Aside from the normal suite of Global Properties, a set of Private Properties is available to be customized.  The results per page and maximum description length are adjustable based on the space needs of your search results page.  The Search Plugin can be set to Sharp Search, or reverted to an older search engine on your site if preferred.  This is also where the option of showing "Related Events" can be selected, to provide users with links to related events based on their search term.  

 Final Thoughts

The Sharp Search plugin provides valuable, relevant results to your members using a powerful and customizable search tool.  The user interface is straightforward and allows you to customize search results on the spot with the Exclude Content feature, and the Administration portion of Sharp Search in the CMS allows for direct and complex control of the searching of your site's content, including external paths when appropriate and excluding search results that are unhelpful or unnecessary.  Sharp Search allows narrowing search results by automatically generated AM.NET values, tailoring your search automatically to the interests of your members.  Sharp Search provides a strong search engine with fluid usability and customization.