Optimize, experience and work

Productivity tools

Use the Forward Search Productivity tools to analyze the index, the searches and the site, to optimize the search experience.

The core Forward Search installation includes the indexer and search-interface needed to deliver the search solution, but Forward Search doesn’t stop there. Bundled with Forward Search, or indeed integrated with the core system, are several productivity tools that support the management of and improvement of the search solution. 

Most of these tools are included in all versions of Forward Search, whereas some are only included in some of the versions – which will be duly where it applies. 

Administration client

Most profoundly, Forward Search is delivered with an Administration client, that gives you control of your search solution through a web based GUI interface. Special versions of this administration client exists for Sitecore and EPiServer, but the generic, stand-alone version included with all Forward Search licenses can service any CMS and indeed any custom solution using Forward Search.

The Administration ClientRead more about the administration client and its many smart tools and convenient status overviews.

The index log

When Forward Search indexes a website or other content corpus, it also generates an elaborate log of the process. This log can easily be accessed from the administration client and contains a number of interesting information through a handful of useful reports. For instance, you can use the log to find broken links on the website, and since the indexer captures the actual response time of each page it visits, you can use the “Black Sheep” report to see the average response time and specifically the worst performing pages on the site. It is even possible to create special reports of the log-data and access them in the administration client just as easy as the standard reports, should such need arise. You can also simply search the log for specific pages to verify the indexing process for special pages you are inspecting.

The single-field index-inspector

You can inspect the actual indexed contents of single fields, including the occurrence count for each value. This way, you can optimize your facets and categories fields by analyzing the field usage - which values are present and in what numbers? Does the chosen values represent an even segmentation of the indexed document corpus? Or should you perhaps change the categorization or selected facet values to get a more balanced tree?

Search log

Forward Search will keep track of all searches made toward each index in the search solution. Unless otherwise directed, Forward Search logs these searches for you to inspect. This is easily done using the Administration client, which displays aggregations of the logs sorted by query, common searches, and also the number of hits found for a given search. This way you can find searches that are commonly executed and returns no hits – and thus find candidates for the Custom Thesaurus. 

The logs also allows you to inspect popular search words aggregated within a customizable time window (for instance 14 days), to monitor which words visitors are searching for “just now” – for instance in relation to campaigns and seasonal changes. Also these words could then be candidates for the custom thesaurus, or to keyword controlled boost-fields, to direct traffic to the most relevant pages.

Manage the Custom Thesaurus

The Custom Thesaurus is used by Forward Search to expand search queries to include alternate forms of terms, aliases, abbreviations and synonyms. To manage this thesaurus, we have included with Forward Search an interface with search capabilities, where you can add and edit the alternate words for any number of terms, and also quickly spot, and navigate to related terms within the thesaurus.