REVIEWER: Brian Lunn, CEO of LabSafe.
BACKGROUND: LabSafe is an online laboratory products and services provider with a mission to expand the field of preventative medicine by increasing consumer access to affordable laboratory tests and testing education. LabSafe's previous site search solution didn't match search results to inquiries, which frustrated users who left the site. The company began looking for a search solution that could deliver relevant site search results and manage traffic from natural searches.
PLATFORMS: SLI Systems hosts LabSafe's search solutions via the Internet.
PROBLEM SOLVED: LabSafe turned to SLI Systems' hosted site search and automated search engine optimization solutions, Learning Search and Site Champion. Learning Search allows LabSafe to customize site search functionality so that if users misspell a search term, they'll still receive the correct results. Learning Search also automatically ranks search results by popularity so customers can easily find the right products. LabSafe employed Site Champion to attract more site traffic from natural search engines. Site Champion uses visitors' own site search terms to automatically create related search engine links for each page of the company's site, which are crawled by search-engine spiders. As a side benefit, the more search-bot hits that LabSafe.com receives, the higher LabSafe.com ranks on Google's or Yahoo!'s page rankings.
PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: Learning Search automatically learns from user behavior by tracking the search terms people use and the resulting items they click on to deliver search results based on popularity. This tells LabSafe which terms the company should link products to and include in product descriptions to improve search relevance. Site Champion integrates with Learning Search by tracking terms that LabSafe's visitors use during site search and generating keyword links relevant to each page on LabSafe.com. When users click on these related search links, they're presented with search results for that keyword from LabSafe.com. Since deploying Learning Search and Site Champion in September 2006, LabSafe has seen a steady increase in revenues, a 3.5 percent increase in site traffic and an 18 percent increase in online orders. Because SLI hosts the search offerings on their own servers, which has handled sites with more than 20 million-plus searches a day, LabSafe doesn't worry about their own servers becoming overloaded.
STRENGTHS: A strength is Learning Search's ability to track visitors' aggregate search terms and corresponding items clicked on and use that data to deliver more relevant results based on popularity. Site Champion automatically generates related searches from terms that LabSafe's visitors use daily during site searches. Rather than making LabSafe's Web team guess which search keywords to use, Site Champion turns customer search terms into a tool to improve search navigation.
WEAKNESSES: LabSafe.com allows customers to order individual products or bundle them. When the company first implemented Learning Search, some products showed up twice in search results - as individual products and parts of a package. So, SLI configured Learning Search to recognize and return duplicate product search results as only one product.
SELECTION CRITERIA: SLI Systems' products work with Google better than other site search vendors. Google can't endorse any companies, but in our meeting with them they said they couldn't find fault with SLI Systems and confirmed the company does not manipulate their engine to achieve unnatural search results.
DELIVERABLES: Learning Search provides LabSafe with comprehensive weekly reports on all aspects of search activity, including the areas that need attention. Accessible online or via email, the reports include standard information, such as the number of searches performed, and allow the site owner to drill down into an item for more information, including which keyword searches provided poor results, which spelling suggestions or sorting options were used and the most visited pages/products.
VENDOR SUPPORT: Support is excellent. LabSafe gives SLI Systems its highest accolades for customer support, especially for troubleshooting the original search-bot issue.
DOCUMENTATION: Because SLI hosts and manages LabSafe's search services, the company doesn't have to rely on the documentation.
Learning Search and Site Champion
SLI Systems, Inc.
20370 Town Center Lane
Cupertino, CA 95014
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