sdltridion_logo_2009.jpg At the beginning of this month, SDL Tridion (news, site) announced the release of Tridion 2009 -- its Unified Online Marketing Suite -- enabling people in marketing to create entire campaigns at, almost, the touch of a button.

Now comes the news that they have partnered to integrate Q-go's Natural Language Search (NLS) engine with SDL’s web content management system. In effect what Q-go’s NLS aims to do is provide dramatically improved search results for website visitors, while Tridion 2009 offers enhanced customer management.

Combined this could be a lethal dose for competitors.

Quality Search Results

But enough of that -- everyone knows marketing is a gentle sport and web content management systems merely the tools for playing.

NLS is such a tool and, according to Q-go, provides a search engine that focuses on providing quality results rather than just quantity.

Search results, the company says, are based on pre-determined questions and answers that are fed into NLS by content editors. Even better though, NLS also has the ability to understand similarities between given questions.

For example, this means that it understands different wording for the same question -- or search query -- and can associate and understand that questions like ‘Check my cash’ and ‘What is the balance in my bank account’ are pretty much the same.

In the same instance it can also distinguish between sentences with similar words and sentence structure like ‘Check my cash’ as opposed to ‘Cash my check’.

Enhanced ‘Stickability’

It is this search ability that has been integrated into SDL Tridion’s Web CMS -- a tool that will respond precisely to queries, but also offer marketing departments the ability to send other related content to the website visitor.

Phrases like ‘visitor satisfaction’, ‘website clickability’, or -- and here’s the cruncher -- ‘customer stickiness’ spring to mind.

“ . . . [On one hand] editors will no longer have multiple processes to go through to update search functions and the website itself,” Jan Jaap Kolleman, CEO at SDL Tridion says.

“[On the other] Visitors to their websites will notice an increase in the quality of their experience, as searches will be relevant to the questions they ask, and eliminate ambiguity . . .This also means that there will be a decrease in helpdesk calls and e-mails as online service level is improved . . .”

Natural Language Search

So how does it work? From the website visitor’s point of view, it allows users ask questions and make queries the results of which are significantly reduced in terms of quantity, but vastly improved in terms of quality.

This is achieved by the development of an index of model questions that is maintained with the Q-go environment in SDL’s CMS and is created by content editors who have complete control over those questions and their answers. The questions and answers are pulled from the content components in SDL, which provide the building blocks for building a website content-wise.

Q-go, for its part, uses the components as the answers to questions website visitors might ask, while each particular content component provides answers to one, or more model questions.

The role of the editor then is to judge, from a content point of view, if the questions match the content. They also have the option to create new model questions, or at least make a suggestion for new model questions.

Results In Three Steps

The content is treated within the system in three steps:

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Standard component maintenance window with the additional "Q-go Question" tab.

1. The screenshot above shows the maintenance of a single SDL Tridion content component. When the eXtension for Natural Language Search has been installed the new tab dynamically appears.

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The dynamic Q-go Question tab shows relevant information from the Q-go database

2. The Q-go tab dynamically shows the relevant information from the Q-go database. The content editor can review and update, but also add new questions.

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The Q-go reporting is integrated in the SDL Tridion application through a Custom Page.

3. Editors take the questions that website visitors are asking and see how well the website content is suited to answer those questions. Q-go provides reporting on those topics. Those reports are directly accessible through the SDL Tridion Custom Pages.

NSL integrates at a number of different levels with the tabs in the maintenance window and the reporting windows being the most obvious ones.

Synchronized Publishing

However, it also integrates into the event system that effectively synchronizes it with the SDL Tridion publishing system so that whenever a component gets published the associated question for that component will be published as well. The reverse is also true; when a component becomes inactive, a question becomes inactive too.

Manage Multiple Brands

One other advanced feature that is worth noting is the mapping feature, which enables the system to map every publication to a different combination on the Q-go database. In short, what this means is that NSL will produce a component answer depending on the website the question, or query was asked from, enabling companies easily incorporate and manage multiple brands.

So why did SDL Tridion and Q-go not announce this integration the same day as SDL Tridion 2009 was unveiled? After all, one provides enhanced marketing tools for dealing with customers, while the other aims to keep visitors on a website long enough so the marketing people can get the clutches in.

Take a closer look at both solutions on the SDL Tridion website.