Intranet Searching Guide

Best Practice Guide for Effective Intranet Searching

The quality of an intranet's search capabilities affects the end-users' experience and their ability to locate information efficiently. An organisation's intranet can contain a significant amount of data from the document management system to articles stored within the knowledge base. With various departments and team members' possessing differing needs in regards to finding the required information and fulfilling specific tasks on their intranet, a number of methods are used to ensure this takes place in an efficient manner.

Search Guide

1) Top Level Navigation

The claromentis intranet should contain a tightly-focused navigation system structured to suit the organisation's goals and objectives. The top navigation bar plays a particularly important role in aiding employees' journey to the necessary information, but where do you start? Navigation can centre on:

  • The current departmental structure
  • Task-based structure such as 'How do I...'
  • Product-orientated focusing on the organisation's product portfolio

Intranet Searching Guide

2) Company and Personal Links

Allowing employees to create their own personal links to particular areas within their intranet or to documents helps them to customise their experience. It is a difficult and almost impossible task to try and accommodate to all employees and departments in relation to the creation of links - so personal links offer each employee the freedom to create their own. Company links are viewable by all employees and should contain links to commonly requested documents, or task-fulfilling areas.

3) Top Bar

The intranet's top bar contains common tools and applications that allow for the rapid allocation of information. It should contain the global search tool box, a list of permission-based applications, access to in-system notifications (overview), a link to the team calendar and the settings area. This central navigation area is viewable by all employees but an element of customisation is added through the permission-based, drop-down application menu and personal links.

4) Metadata

When creating and adding content to your intranet it is important to try and consider the needs of other intranet users in relation to finding the necessary information. The metadata should reflect the overall contents of the information supplied and act as a strong indicator in helping users find information efficiently. Encouraging content administrators to add good quality metadata each time information is created on your intranet will greatly increase the likelihood of relevant content being found. It will also decrease the amount of manual work the intranet administrator will have to complete once intranet searching has been deemed ineffective.

5) Best Bets

In essence, best bets are user-created resources which help guide users find relevant information quickly and dramatically improve the intranet search experience. As the intranet grows and develops the number of search queries thus increases. In the majority of cases, intranet users are looking for a select number of key pages or content areas. Any common search terms related to 'sick leave' is either looking for the further information (Policy) or to request time off (holiday planner). So the best bets feature would allow employees to be directed to these areas without having to further search their intranet.

6) Search Requests

Search requests act as an indispensable guide for intranet administrators and they reduce the amount of research required in trying to discover users searching pain-points instantly. If a user is unsuccessful in their attempts to try and find particular information they can submit a search request. This helps to improve intranet users' experience as it depends solely upon users' feedback. Every search request will have the 'submit search request functionality' at the bottom of the search results.

7) Alternative Suggestions

This is particularly useful for organisations with geographically dispersed offices as there can often be differing spellings, terms and phrases for a common term. Using the search results report in audit logs in correlation to the Alternative suggestions feature will ensure that you're continuously tweaking and enhancing your users' experience.