From coding to designing complete websites, the Lenz’s Interactive team is able to do it all. A recent project of the interactive department has been to switch out client sites using Google Custom Site Search to one powered by Solr instead.
Google Custom Site Search is great. It’s simple to use and since it has Google’s search ability, it pulls up smart search results rather than “dumb word search,” meaning that it’s able to analyze the site’s content and rank the order in which it’s listed so the user can find what they’re looking for instead of having irrelevant pages pop up that happen to include the search term. SouthCoast Health’s website is a great example of how Google Custom Site Search pulls up results for users:
So, why stop using Google Custom Site Search? Well, Google decided to discontinue the paid version of this service in April 2017. When a subscription runs out, the account is downgraded to the free version and its mandatory ads. With the news, the Lenz interactive team got busy looking at alternatives.
The free version of Google Custom Search displays ads above the results.
After heavy consideration, the team decided to switch to using the Solr search platform. Though more complicated to set up and not as smart as the Google Custom Site Search, Solr has “learning to rank,” or LTR, capabilities as well. These ranking capabilities paired with Solr’s robust schema flexibility gives the website developer complete control over how search results are pulled up – even more control than what Google offered!
Though implementing Solr’s search platform is time consuming, Lenz’s interactive team continues to work hard to ensure all our clients’ websites have smart, fully functioning search engines that’ll point users in the right direction.