Transact SQL Other Articles Software Reviews
Why Websites need Search Facilities
Once a website grows beyond half a dozen pages then it can sometimes be difficult to create a site navigation scheme that allows users to quickly find what they're looking for. One way to improve site navigation is to add a search facility to the website. Adding a search facility brings major benefits to a website, making it easier to find information as well as adding an additional method of navigating a website. Search facilities are generally well used, and will frequently appear within the top ten most requested pages on a website.
Search Engines Allow Visitors to Search your Content
One of the easiest ways to add a facility for searching the pages in your website is to link to search results for your website from one of the major search engines. Google and other major search engines allow you to do this. However, using this method it can be difficult to integrate the search results with the design of your website. It also carries the obvious risk of a website visitor leaving your website and not returning! Even worse, your website visitors may see an advert for a competitor on the search results page, and so go and do their business elsewhere!
Building Your Own Search Engine
There are a number of software solutions that allow you to put your own search engine on your website. These include server-side search solutions available such as Microsoft's Index Server or ht://Dig. Although they allow sophisticated search facilities to be created, they generally require a high level of technical knowledge to install and configure. To create a search page with these solutions, programming knowledge of server-side scripting languages such as Active Server Pages (ASP) or PHP is also usually required, or you will need to employ somebody to create the code for you. To complicate matters, not many web hosting companies support these search solutions, and those that do often charge additional hosting fees.
Note that if your website uses query strings then it is a good idea to tick the checkbox called Use URL Query Strings. This will ensure that in the search results pages with different query strings will be treated as different search results pages. So for example www.mywebsite.com/news.php?ID=12 will link to a different news article from www.mywebsite.com/news.php?ID=21 and so The Website Utility will ensure they are indexed separately.
Running The Website Utility
Clicking on the Run button will start The Website Utility's web robot. This web robot start at a user specified page in the website and will automatically crawl all of the pages in that website. The Website Utility extracts all of the words from these pages, and finds the most relevant pages in the website for each word. Common English words (e.g. got, like, then) are removed, as are words of one or two characters. Word rankings depend on many factors, including their distribution through the entire website and their distribution in the content of a specific page.
Pages are sorted in search results according to their ranking for the particular word or words being searched for. The ranking scale goes from 0 to 99. Rank is higher for pages that most closely match the search term. In general, searching for words that are common on the site will produce search results with a lower rank than very specific words that occur on only one or two pages.
The search facility also requires a search form and a search results page. The search form can either be put on a separate search page on the site, or the search form could be added to all of the pages in a website (e.g. in the top right hand corner of the website's navigation). The HTML code for a typical search form is shown below. The search form needs a text box called TWUQuery. The form should use the GET method to submit to the search results page.
Purchase The Website Utility