We had the opportunity to present at SUGCON North America in October 2023 – the culmination of Sitecore’s super event in Minneapolis that also included MVP Summit and DX. SUGCON NA started with Sitecore’s CEO Steve Tzikakis on stage talking about Sitecore’s composable products, including Sitecore Search, and the power they can give to marketers to drive their digital experience, rather than being limited by developer bandwidth and technical constraints. This teed up our presentation, “Search Smarter, Not Harder: Unleashing the Power of Sitecore Search for Marketers,” all about the features that marketers can use in Sitecore Search to drive a better digital experience for their customers.
For those not in attendance, we’re here recapping our presentation with Top 6 Features Marketers should care about in Sitecore Search.
To start, for those who are not familiar: Sitecore Search is Sitecore’s Cloud-based AI-powered SaaS search solution.
The Content Collection is a section within the Customer Engagement Console (CEC) where marketers can access information about their content items that are being ingested by Sitecore Search. This allows you to see all of the content items (including those that live outside of Sitecore) in one place; have visibility into valuable attributes such as content type, source, URL, etc.; and see analytics about content performance to make better strategic decisions about your user experience.
As the number of sites and platforms within a company’s ecosystem grows, this increases the need for a federated search experience that gives organizations the ability to incorporate items for multiple sites or sources in your content collection.
Real World Example
One of our customers who is a Texas-based real estate association has content in Sitecore XP, as well as their home listings that live in their MLS feed. We are in the process of implementing Sitecore Search so that we can unify that content into a single federated search experience. We’re able to do this more efficiently using Sitecore Search.
What marketer doesn’t want more data?? Sitecore Search includes dashboards and data that is specific to users’ search behavior. Historically, we’ve had to go fishing through Google Analytics and SEMRush reports to understand what users are searching for on a site. Sitecore Search helps make data analysis easier and more effective by centralizing search behavior data (e.g., clicks and conversions) into Search’s CEC dashboard.
Widgets / Presentation Transformation
These are the components and containers that make up the presentation of your search experience. Using Sitecore Search, marketers are now able to configure how the preview and search results experiences look to align with your users’ needs, rather than being reliant on a development team to do this for you. Marketers can also create variations on these presentations for A/B testing and personalization, but more about that later.
Rules: Boost, Bury, Block
Being able to weight search results isn’t new—but giving a marketer the ability to do it without a developers’ support is. A business user can configure variations on user attributes that prioritize, deprioritize or even hide certain content items from users. Organizations have different audience segments, each of whom have different areas of interest within your content. It becomes incredibly challenging for organizations to meet everyone’s needs with a default search algorithm.
Real World Example
One of our customers is a government agency that has published tens of thousands of pieces of content serving audiences that range from funders to media to educators to researchers. While, at the time, we leveraged XP’s personalization rules to help tailor their search experience, it can now be done more efficiently using Sitecore Search’s Boost, Bury, and Block rules.
Personalization with Search
Of course, we wouldn’t being doing our jobs as strategists or Sitecore devotees without talking about personalization. Sitecore Search includes—out-of-the-box—the ability to personalize search results based on users’ affinities and interactives. No marketer needs to be sold on the power of personalization or its importance, but it’s music to our ears when we can leverage AI to help reduce the burden of implementing and managing Sitecore Search. For many customers this also makes for a low barrier of entry option into personalization, until they’re ready to leverage Sitecore Personalize.