Monday, December 3, 2007

Written by Nicole Bildy

Marketing Manager


Codeware Inc., established in 1985, is a specialized niche player focused exclusively on providing comprehensive software for the design and analysis of ASME Section VIII vessels and exchangers. The site serves as a portal to provide product and support information as well as a trial download of the proprietary software for prospects and customers in the industrial engineering sector.

Before Google’s Custom Search technology, we used a third party tool which we had received feedback indicating that our online knowledgebase resource was not very useful. Upon further investigation we realized that users could not find the information they were looking for because the searching algorithm could not produce relevant responses. When we discovered that Google offered a customized search we knew we needed to implement it. We've always felt that when it comes to searching ability, Google is by far the leader.

Based on our needs, we implemented two separate 'searches'. We implemented one to act as a general site search and the other to search our online knowledgebase. There were several important changes that took place upon implementation:

1. Site Search Implementation: Our website users have an alternate method of navigating our site. Search was now a potential primary factor in the user’s sense of navigation.

2. Knowledgebase Search Implementation: By improving our online knowledgebase search results, our customers are able to find solutions much faster, increasing the number of repeat visits. Using our third party search tool, it took visitors 1:23 to find the knowledgebase item they were looking for compared to 0:53 seconds using the Google custom search engine. Also, the bounce rate for the search results page decreased to 17.54% from 24.52%. The % of visitors that exited the site from the search results page stayed about the same.

3. Our Support Team has seen a decrease in the number of commonly asked questions. This has provided a great incentive for our team to increase the information available in our online knowledgebase. Because our Support Engineers know that customers can now find the information posted, we’ve seen a large increase in the amount of information submitted by our Support Engineers for incorporation into the knowledgebase.

We appreciate the ability to offer such relevant search results to our users. On the administration side, the CSBE interface is very user friendly. It is very simple to add or remove pages searched and customize the look to fit our corporate image. Also, as we operate in a niche market, it is nice to display search results without advertising our competitors.

We are also a Google Analytics user, and as Codeware’s Marketing Manager, I’ve found the quantitative information available through Google Analytics enables us to better monitor and measure our online marketing efforts.

Besides providing our users with an additional way to navigate our website, Google CSBE has helped us manage our technical support load. By providing better knowledgebase search results, our customers are able to find solutions to their issues immediately.

For other users out there thinking about CSBE, I would recommend spending time planning which pages to include in the search results. We decided to include our online manuals and technical papers along with our knowledgebase items and that decision has greatly increased the value of our Knowledgebase to our customers.