point loma nazarene university case studyhomey site search

User search up by 33%

“It’s been really refreshing using AddSearch. I finally deleted site search from my list of things to worry about every week. Even if there is a problem, I know there’s an easy and direct solution. That’s what makes this product so awesome.”

There are plenty of things you have to worry about when you are working at a university. Site search should not be on the list of those things because there are painless services like AddSearch out there that can make your life easier.

When David Gladson was faced with finding a new site search tool, he wasn’t very happy with the solutions he found. The Director of Marketing at Point Loma Nazarene University needed a search option that allowed flexibility and was easy to use. His team initially decided to create their own internal search index but it was incredibly complex. If he wanted to make simple adjustments for one search term, it was hard to tweak the algorithm.

At a university meet-up, he got a tip from some colleagues at other institutions who told him about AddSearch. After he compared it to other tools, he knew that AddSearch was his go-to solution. Not only does AddSearch have experience working with higher education institutions, the solution is also flexible and customizable.

Why they love using AddSearch

Easy implementation and usability:

The implementation took around four weeks but could have been even faster if Point Loma Nazarene University wasn’t going through a redesign of their site at the same time. “Compared to building our own index, this was a very painless process and we got great support”, Gladson said. Onboarding his team to the new tool was also easy: “I taught my team to use the tool in half an hour and if I ever need changes, my intern can do them.”

About six people have access to AddSearch and Gladson can trust them to make simple tweaks without going through an elongated approval process.

Simple keyword or site area adjustments

For Point Loma Nazarene University, keyword or site area adjustments needed to be easy to do. With their own build internal search index, refinements of search results were pretty much impossible because the process was so complex. “We all knew that our internal site search was a problem, none of us liked it”, Gladson explained.

With AddSearch, they now can easily log in and make adjustments to a particular keyword to make sure that traffic is sent to the most important pages of their website. This finetuning of search results makes sure that the visitors find what they are looking for.

Ability to promote search results

Universities have very long sales funnels extending over several years starting with the initial interest of a junior to the decision of a senior high school student on which university they want to attend. Which makes it even more vital to promote certain search results depending on the time of year and season.

“We love the ability to just push a result higher in the result list, it’s a huge win”, Gladson said. With these more tailored results, the users find the information they are looking for on their first query, and the university can promote relevant content for their marketing needs.

Offering tailored results for different audiences

University websites have to serve different audiences. Among their users are interested high school students who want to find out more about their potential university and current students who need information on their classes.

Gladson also observes that the needs for their site search change over the years: while a junior is looking for financial aid options and affordability, a sophomore is more interested in the accommodations and a senior will be looking for what jobs are open to them when they get a degree at this university.

With AddSearch, Point Loma Nazarene University can show search results unique to each of these user segments depending on their history, behavior, or settings.

Ease of Mind

This might come as a surprise but what Gladson really loves about AddSearch is that site search is no longer on his list of things to worry about. He doesn’t receive any messages from colleagues anymore on why their page is not featured in the search results – which unfortunately happened with the internally built site search they used prior.

“I have confidence that our search algorithm is working. Having that burden lifted is one of our biggest wins.”

What improved by using AddSearch

User search is up by 33%

Since Point Loma Nazarene University started using AddSearch their user search is going up. A great sign that the users appreciate the improved tool and like to use it.

User get their results faster

Users who have to click on multiple results are down by 10% which means that more people are getting to their results faster. “We see this as an improvement in the right direction: our users are happier with the search results than they were before”, Gladson said.

Users spend more time on the website after they searched

Users spend more time on the website after using AddSearch’s site search. For universities, this is especially important since they want their potential students to learn more about their institution. “We need them to do a lot of exploring on the site. We don’t just want them to go on one page and be done”, Gladson explains.

Point Loma Nazarene University is a private Liberal Arts college at the oceanfront in San Diego, California. They have around 3,500 students each year and offer smaller class sizes. Most of their students come from the Western United States, especially Southern California. Their mission is to help their students grow as a person and become engaged members of their community.

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