More information you put into your website - more valuable it becomes - and gets more difficult to navigate ! No matter how well you design your site navigation, visitors will need ingenious ways to find what they are looking for. Site search engines provide a powerful and familiar means to provide that access. Visitors can just type the words and press the Search button in a form, and get a list of all the documents that match those words on your site.
We discussed various issues involved, specially who needs search engines and why in previous issue. In this article, we discuss the tasks involved if your website falls into the category that needs search engine.
There are essentially two ways to go about
The first option offers more freedom but costs a lot and requires considerable in-house technical expertise.
The second option is less expensive and very easy to implement (anyone with practical knowledge of HTML can implement it - does not require technical skill). However, there are a few issues that need attention before opting for such a service.
Your own Search Engine (Local Software)
For an example of such software, consider the search engine at The Great Indian Bazaar (the top right corner of www.infobanc.com) It has separate provisions for searching buyers, sellers, news items etc. So, if you are searching for Buyers, the search engine will only display BUYERS - no unwanted junk. You are unlikely to get such customization in general purpose search engines.
Though this option gives you maximum choice it also requires considerable understanding of how search engines work and technical skill to implement. Besides, it costs more and needs regular maintenance. This place is too short to discuss the issues involved, we shall instead concentrate on second option.
Outsourced or Remotely Hosted Search Engine
The World Wide Web is a marvelous place - you will find helping hands almost everywhere. For example, you can outsource your search to a remote site search service and let someone else worry about the gory details. The indexer and search engine run on the remote server: they will use a web indexing robot, or spider, to follow links on your site and read the pages, then store every word in the index file on that server (without taking a single Kilobyte from your precious server space).
During search, the visitor fills up a form on your local Web page (just like any search engine) which in turn sends the information to the remote search engine. The remote search engine takes the search terms, matches the words in the index, sorts them according to relevance, and creates an HTML page with the results. When a searcher clicks on the result link, they will see the page from your site, just as though the search came from there. It's easy and painless for practically everyone.
Advantages of Remotely Hosted Search Engine
The Flip Side - Disadvantages
Like all good things in life - this service also comes with riders you need to be aware of.
How to start
Whether you opt for local search engine or remotely hosted one - you must first complete few housekeeping tasks to prepare your website. We shall discuss the tasks in next issue as also a review of available Internet resources.
- Newsletter on Business Opportunties from India and Abroad
Vol: 3, Issue 22
September 19' 2002