Robust search tools play a critical role in enhancing web presence, and more specifically, in helping site visitors efficiency find what they’re looking for. In this episode of the Sitecore Water Cooler podcast, our host, Maggie Burke, discusses all things Sitecore Search, a pivotal tool for optimizing the user experience and increasing conversions for websites leveraging the Sitecore platform. To delve deeper into the intricacies of Sitecore Search, as well as more tips on Sitecore development, Americaneagle.com Senior Sitecore Solutions Architect Jared Arnofsky joins our host.
Important Considerations for a Sitecore Search Implementation
Maggie and Jared discuss the importance of proper planning in Sitecore Search implementation. Jared, a senior Sitecore Solution architect, emphasizes the critical role of identifying and categorizing data sources when building search platforms. He stresses the need to discern the relevance of internal sources and make informed decisions on inclusion. Additionally, Jared highlights the significance of dynamic and updated site maps, underscoring the importance of ensuring accuracy and freshness for effective crawling in Sitecore Search. This conversation reinforces the podcast's theme of meticulous planning for a smooth and successful Sitecore Search implementation, touching on key considerations like source identification and site map optimization.
The Role of Meta Data and Taxonomy in Sitecore Search
Maggie emphasizes the importance of thoughtful planning, ensuring relevant facets without overwhelming granularity. Jared underscores the need to expose certain tags and taxonomies in search results. He navigates the complexities of multiple sources, discussing the challenge of deciding which metadata is universally relevant. He also details the process of creating a standardized matrix across sources to identify common fields for metadata and taxonomies, fostering a collaborative approach with clients for a seamless user experience during implementation.
New Developments in Sitecore Search
Jared discusses exciting developments in Sitecore Search implementation, highlighting the flexibility provided by the REST API. A recent innovation involves leveraging a React component SDK, offering a standalone solution for running searches. This SDK simplifies the integration process, allowing users to set up configurations and sources within Sitecore's cloud console. Notably, the React SDK comes with built-in analytics tools, enhancing the overall functionality and providing valuable insights. Jared emphasizes the versatility of these tools, particularly for applications using Next.js, showcasing Sitecore's commitment to advancing search capabilities with user-friendly features.
Sitecore Search's Platform Agnosticism
Maggie and Jared discuss the platform agnosticism of Sitecore Search, emphasizing its compatibility beyond Sitecore CMS. The REST API and React SDK enable Sitecore Search to function independently, making it adaptable to any React site or custom application. Hostable in various environments, the React SDK doesn't require Sitecore, allowing users to integrate it seamlessly into different platforms or cloud services. Jared highlights the flexibility of crawling diverse sources, showcasing a client with ten varied sources, including Salesforce and custom applications. Sitecore Search's agnostic nature promotes versatile integration, aligning with the broader goal of collaborative and unified development within the Sitecore ecosystem.
How a Dedicated Team Contributes to a Successful Sitecore Search Implementation
Jared acknowledges the invaluable support from Sitecore's technical partner advisors, a team instrumental in Sitecore Search implementations. Leveraging their expertise on both Sitecore XM Cloud and Sitecore Search projects, Jared emphasizes their role as a soundboard for problem-solving, highlighting their significant contributions. Maggie expresses excitement about Sitecore's commitment to building a cohesive team, fostering a one-team mentality across projects. The shared goal of success creates a collaborative atmosphere, building not just professional relationships but friendships. This collaborative approach, supported by Sitecore's dedicated team, contributes to the seamless integration of Sitecore Search, aligning with the overall success of the projects.
Notable Features in Sitecore Search
Jared explores notable features within Sitecore Search, emphasizing its robust analytics capabilities. The tool provides insights into user interactions, allowing for refined searches based on user behavior. Jared mentions beta features like AI integrations offering suggestions and answers. Sitecore Search's continuous evolution as a SaaS product introduces tuning capabilities, enabling the prioritization of certain fields for enhanced search relevance. The tool's versatility extends to crawling PDFs, a valuable asset for content-rich websites. Additionally, Sitecore Search allows result boosting based on specific conditions, ensuring a customizable and extendable solution tailored to diverse business requirements.
Key Planning Elements for Sitecore Search Implementation
Jared highlights the pivotal planning aspect for successful Sitecore Search implementation: achieving consensus on sources, fields, and facets across diverse content. Acknowledging the challenge of agreeing on categories, subcategories, and facets, he emphasizes the importance of aligning these elements with business needs and user experience. The key lies in determining the facets' relevance and usability, ensuring they contribute to a positive user experience. Jared underscores the significance of this foundational planning step, as it directly impacts the search functionality's effectiveness, usability, and alignment with business goals across various sources.
Sitecore Search & a Chicago-Style Italian Beef
Jared draws a delightful analogy between Sitecore Search and a Chicago staple, likening it to the iconic Chicago Italian beef sandwich. Expressing satisfaction with the reliability and quality of their search implementations, he compares Sitecore Search to the flavorful and renowned beef sandwich from Portillo's. This comparison suggests that, much like the beloved dish, Sitecore Search stands out for its excellence, delivering a robust and satisfying experience. Jared's association captures the essence of Sitecore Search's effectiveness and appeal, aligning its qualities with the distinctive flavors and reputation of Chicago cuisine.
Prepare for Your Sitecore Search Implementation
This episode explored the intricacies of implementing Sitecore Search, touching on crucial considerations from planning to execution. Jared emphasized the challenge of aligning sources, fields, and facets, underscoring their impact on search effectiveness and user experience. Exciting developments, such as the React SDK, showcased Sitecore Search's adaptability and innovative features like analytics and PDF crawling. Notable functionalities, the influence of Sitecore, and collaborative efforts were highlighted. Jared's analogy likened Sitecore Search to Chicago's famed Italian beef sandwich, emphasizing its reliability and quality. As a takeaway, the blog emphasizes the need for meticulous planning, aligning facets with business goals, and invites readers to explore Sitecore Search's potential for a successful implementation.
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- Jon Price: LinkedIn // Twitter
- Maggie Burke: LinkedIn
- Jared Arnofsky: LinkedIn
- Resources: Sitecore Development Partner
This podcast is brought to you by Americaneagle.com Studios.
About: For years, ‘water cooler talk’ has been a natural way for people in the workplace to come together and connect on common interest topics in what would otherwise be a formal environment; it boosts morale, improves culture and gets the creative juices flowing! Some of the best workplace ideas and conversations happen through face-to-face conversations around the ‘water cooler,’ so just as the name implies, The Sitecore Water cooler Podcast is a casual conversation between colleagues and peers centered around all things Sitecore. This podcast is an outlet for various Sitecore experts within the Sitecore community to have a meaningful discussion around the latest with Sitecore products, every day topics, challenges and successes associated with this top-of-line digital experience platform. Each podcast episode will range in topic, but will be geared towards quick-hitting initiatives that affect how business is done today. Whether you’re a new Sitecore user, a Sitecore MVP, or just someone who wants to learn more about Sitecore technology and capabilities, then meet us at the watercooler!