Digital marketers have a strong interest in tuning and optimizing the search experience, which is why Sitecore has given search a front row seat in Sitecore 7.
Sitecore 7 Has Search at Its Core
The list of functions that a digital marketer needs to do these days seems endless. One of the things that continues to require a huge amount of attention is the website. But websites have changed drastically and the content used to populate those websites has too. Which is why search is so important to marketers.
According to Darren Guarnaccia, Senior VP Product Marketing at Sitecore, search is a lot of try and test, and tweaking. The new version of Sitecore offers marketers the environment to adapt the search experience without having to go to a Search Administrator or a developer. Marketers can now pick an attribute and make it faceted element in search. These facets can span different types of content.
Sitecore 7 Search Facets
Marketers can also tweak and tune content relevancy, through direct tagging, boosting rules, pushing the most important content to the top of search results. Boosting, which gives more weight to something in search results, can be done by field, field type, item and more.
Sitecore 7 - Boosting
Another feature is the ability to create queries with a simple search interface, and to make this even better, personalization can be applied.
Sitecore 7 - Tagging
Guarnaccia told me that with Sitecore 7 users are no longer slaves to menuing systems. The next generation of experiences are not tightly structured. Consumers are being shaped by the Facebooks and Amazons of the world and expect information to be presented and found easily.
Under Sitecore's Covers
You may be wondering how Sitecore is able to offer this level of search administration functionality to marketers. It is because Sitecore 7 has search technology as the information access layer now. By doing this, Sitecore has taken off the scaling limits that a typical content management infrastructure offers.
Out of the box, Sitecore comes with Lucene as its core search engine, enhanced for this version and Solr, new to this version of Sitecore, but customers aren't tied to Lucene. Search has been implemented using the provider model, so you can plug-in your search engine of choice to be the information access layer.
What this opens up is the ability to quickly pull together content from a variety of sources, enabling marketers to create experiences that reflect what's happening out in the consumer world.
Sitecore 7 - Dynamic Data Sources
Sitecore 7 - A Game Changer
Some are referring to this new architecture and feature-set for marketers as a game changer. It's definitely an approach I've not seen from other web content management vendors. Search is definitely a key element of most Web CMS platforms, but having search at the core is new.
In demos of Ingeniux's Cartella social software I did see the ability to easily create new facets for search and pull in metadata for better search results. This is something I expect we'll also see in Ingeniux's web content management system when it's released something this year (I can't confirm that, but both are built on the same core platform). I expect that as WCM vendors work to meet the more flexible interfaces that apps like Facebook offer, we'll see search functionality take more importance.
For now, I'm curious to know what you think about Sitecore's new architecture model.
Opening image courtesy Angela Waye (Shutterstock)