Feedback on Search

I started using Sparkle’s built-in search feature. I implemented it using a popup, see cedrus.com.

The Good

As with everything else in Sparkle, adding search to the website was incredibly easy. Doing it via a popup took a little bit more trip and error, but still very easy and fun to do while at it.

The Bad

The quality of the search results is very underwhelming, to say the least. Specifically:

  • The most relevant page is no where near the top. Sparkle seems to be listing pages based on their order in the Sparkle document rather than relevancy.

  • More worryingly, Sparkle is unable to find documents that contain two words. If I type “SuperLab c-pod”, I got zero results.

I’m hoping that this can be improved on real soon.

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I had to remove Sparkle’s Search feature from all my client websites as I was getting constant negative feedback from clients and users regarding poor search results.

The solution I use is https://duckduckgo.com/search_box

It’s private (no Google pirating your site or user’s data), fully customizable, and supports word and phrase searching. DuckDuckGo is a professional search engine endorsed by Apple.

Your site images and video, when labeled correctly, will also show up in search results. The search uses DuckDuckGo’s private servers so you don’t need to do anything other than embed two lines of simple code. Also, when users enter an address or location, the search engine will show a map.

A side benefit is seeing how your unpublished changes/test site will look to search engines. There’s no SEO tool out there that can give you the definitive SEO analysis of a site that this real-world perspective provides. It’s the secret of SEO pro’s charging big money. It’s far more useful than Sparkle’s SEO analysis.

Take it for a test drive, there’s more benefits.

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Can you give me the URL of one or two sites that implement DuckDuckGo search as examples?

It will be more meaningful if you set this up yourself and analyze your own site. It’s simple to set up and insanely powerful. You can test without touching your existing site.

Do this; go to the DuckDuckGo site and set it up for your site. Copy the embed code. Now open a new document in Sparkle. Insert the embed function into the blank page and paste the embed code. View in Preview and search your site. This gives you the priceless ability to see your site from the outside as a user.

Next, go back to DuckDuckGo and set up another search embed for one of your competitors. You can search their site anonymously. Now you are using it as a powerful market research tool. Compare search results from your site to your competitors. You can gleam tremendous insight into your SEO ranking versus competitors.

Now, step back and look at how much more professional this makes your site look compared to the typical site search engine. My clients and users love this.

One benefit I didn’t mention is that you can search multiple sites with one search. If you have multiple related sites that you want to cross promote through searching, it’s very effective.

Spend an hour exploring and you’ll find this to be one of the most powerful tools on the web. And it’s free!

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