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How to use OnPoint Search

Introduction

OnPoint Search makes it easy to create, manage and customize search engines on your websites.

To get started, sign in to your account at https://search.onpointsuite.ca/account/login/.


Search engines

In OnPoint Search, a “search engine” is a collection of site content that is queried when a site visitor conducts a search. Typically, you would create a single search engine for each distinct web site.

OnPoint Search has two types of search engines:

  • Crawler: OnPoint Search creates a search engine by crawling the website from a starting URL, then indexing all web page and document content. A Crawler search engine has an embed code snippet that you can add to any page on your site to render search results.
  • Drupal: If you have a Drupal website, you can push content to OnPoint Search using the open source Search API Solr module. Selecting a Drupal Engine will generate the configuration settings you can use to connect to OnPoint Search.

Creating a new search engine

  1. Click the Add search engine button.
  2. Select the search engine type.

For Crawler search engines

  1. In Search engine name, enter a name that you’ll use to identify the search engine.
  2. In Website URL, enter the URL where OnPoint Search should start crawling.

    In most cases, this is enough for OnPoint Search to begin crawling the website. If needed, you can configure advanced options as follows.
  3. In Advanced Options, fill in the following:
    1. Basic authentication
      If the site uses basic authentication, enter a username and password for the crawler to connect to the site.
    2. Additional domains for crawling
      By default, OnPoint Search will only crawl links that it finds that begin with the domain name in the Website URL. To allow additional domains to be included in the same crawl, add the additional URLs as a comma-separated list. For example, to also add pages from “https://one.com” and “http://two.org” to the same search engine, enter “https://one.com,http://two.org”.

      Additional domains are useful if your site has content on a subdomain that needs to be included in the same search engine.
    3. URL blacklist
      To exclude pages from being crawled, add URLs or regular expressions as a comma-separated list. The crawler will then ignore all URLs that match those URLs or expressions. For example, “http://example.com/example” would ingore all pages whose URLs contain that pattern.

      Tip: OnPoint Search treats each value as a UNIX-style regular expression. Advanced users can enter regular expressions in the blacklist to match more complex patterns.
    4. Exclude elements from indexing
      By default, OnPoint Search extracts and indexes all user-facing text content on a page, no matter where it appears. To exclude specific sections from the page, enter those items as a comma-separated list of CSS selectors (for example, “.header-outer,footer,#sidebar”. The crawler will then ignore any content within elements that match those selectors.

      This feature is useful to make sure that OnPoint Search doesn’t include text in a header or footer in the index for every single page in your site.

      Note: Regardless of what’s entered in this field, OnPoint Search will never index style tags, javascript tags, or select tags.
    5. Remove text from Title
      Enter text that you want removed from titles as they appear in search result headers. By default, OnPoint Search uses a web page’s title tag as the heading for search results. However, some sites include the site name in the title (for example, “My Page | My Site”), which can lead to long and confusing headings in search results. If text is entered in this field (such as “| My Site”), OnPoint Search will remove that text from search result headings.
    6. Crawl time
      By default, OnPoint Search recrawls a site every day. Enter the time that you want OnPoint Search to begin the daily crawl, in UTC format (Coordinated Universal Time). For example, to begin the crawl at 2 seconds past 1:52 PM, enter “13:52:02”.

For Drupal search engines

  1. In Search engine name, enter a name that you’ll use to identify the search engine.
  2. Select whether the site is Drupal 7 or Drupal 8.
  3. In Website URL, enter the URL where OnPoint Search should start crawling.
  4. When you’re done, click Add to create the search engine.

To edit a search engine

  1. Click the gear icon next to the search engine that you want to edit.
  2. Make changes to the search engine’s settings as needed.
  3. When you’re done, click Save.

To delete a search engine

  1. Click the gear icon next to the search engine that you want to delete.
  2. Click Delete at the bottom of the modal and confirm the deletion.

To recrawl a website

  1. Click the gear icon next to the search engine that you want to recrawl.
  2. Click Recrawl at the bottom of the modal.

Customization

OnPoint Search provides a wealth of data and information on the items that it indexes and lets you manage and customize search results. To access a feature, click it from the nav on the left side of the page.

Note: The following instructions refer to Crawler-based search engines only. Configure Drupal search engines through the Drupal module installed on your site.

Overview

To display the overview page, click Overview in the nav on the left.

The overview page contains simple analytics for your website. It lists the top search queries and a graph of the number of searches over the last 7 days.

Tip: To open a Search Preview page for a particular search term, click it.

Content

To display the xontent page, click Content in the nav on the left.

The xontent section shows all content items that were indexed by the crawler. Click a content item for more detail on its properties.

To add a content item

To add a new page or other content item to the search index right away (without crawling the entire site):

  1. Click the Add button in the top right corner.
  2. Enter the URL for the item.
  3. Click Add.

In a few minutes, OnPoint Search will crawl the URL and add the content item to the index.

To remove a content item

When you delete a page or content item from the website, search results will still include that item until the next time the site is crawled. To remove it from the index right away:

  1. Click the content item that you want to remove.
  2. Click Delete and confirm the deletion.

The content item will be immediately removed from the index.

Note: If the page or item is still available on the website, it will be picked up the next time the site is crawled. To keep a page available, but hide it from search results, you can add it to the blacklist. (You can edit the blacklist in the search engine’s settings.)

To export content items

To export a CSV file of all indexed content items, click Export, then choose one of the following:

  1. To export details on all items in the search index, choose Export content items (.csv).

Best matches

To display the best matches for your search engine, click Best matches in the nav on the left.

Best matches let you push specified items to the top of the search results when the search query matches a specific set of keywords. Best matches consist of a keyword and one or more URLs.

To add a Best Match

  1. Click the Add button (in the top right corner).
  2. Enter the keyword to be matched in the search query.
  3. Enter the URL of the content item to promote.
    To add more content items, click Add another URL.
  4. When you’re done, click Add.

To edit a Best Match

  1. Click the Best Match that you want to edit.
  2. Make the desired changes.
  3. When you’re done, click Save.

To delete a Best Match

  1. Click the Best Match that you want to delete.
  2. Click Delete and confirm the deletion.

To export best matches

To export the current list of best matches as a CSV file:

  1. Click Export.
  2. Click Export best matches (.csv).

Protected words

To access words that are protected from stemming for your search engine, click Protected words in the nav on the left.

Protected words are words that OnPoint Search will never stem. By default, OnPoint Search uses stemming to reduce words to their root and to treat different forms of those words as the same term for search purposes. For example, “swimming” and “swims” use the same stem “swim” and all three are considered equivalent in the search index. Searches for “swimming” include pages that use “swim” and vice versa. If a word is flagged as a protected word, OnPoint Search will keep it separate from other forms of that word.

Protected words can be useful for references to product names that include common words (such as “excel”) or for genuinely related terms that you want to keep separate (such as “cannabis” and “cannaboid”).

To add a protected word

  1. Click the Add button (in the top right corner).
  2. Enter the protected word.
  3. Click Add.

To edit a protected word

  1. Click the protected word that you want to edit.
  2. Make the desired changes.
  3. Click Save.

To delete a protected word

  1. Click the protected word that you want to delete.
  2. Click Delete and confirm the deletion.

To export Protected words

To export the list of protected words as a CSV file:

  1. Click Export.
  2. Click Export protected words (.csv).

Spellings

To access common misspellings for your search engine, click Spellings in the nav on the left.

Use spellings to treat commonly-misspelled words in a user’s search query with the correct spelling. Corrections in the spelling list work only in one direction. For example, if you add “hckey” as a misspelled word for “hockey”:

  • Searches for “hckey” will be treated as searches for “hockey”.
  • Searches for “hockey” will not include pages that use the misspelled word “hckey”.

Tip: To set up words that mean the same thing in both directions, use synonyms instead.

To add a spelling

  1. Click the Add button (in the top right corner).
  2. Enter the misspelled word.
  3. Enter the correct spelling.
  4. Click Add.

To edit a spelling

  1. Click the spelling that you want to edit.
  2. Make the desired changes.
  3. Click Save.

To delete a spelling

  1. Click the spelling that you want to delete.
  2. Click Delete and confirm the deletion.

To export spellings

To export a list of alternate spellings as a CSV file:

  1. Click Export.
  2. Click Export spellings (.csv).

Stop words

To access stop words for your search engine, click Stop words in the nav on the left.

Stop words are common words that are irrelevant to search results and should not be included in the query, such as “and”, “a”, and “the”. OnPoint Search includes a large set of stop words by default, so you typically won’t have to edit this list.

To add a stop word

  1. Click the Add button (in the top right corner).
  2. Enter the stop word.
  3. Click Add.

To edit a stop word

  1. Click the stop word that you want to edit.
  2. Make the desired changes.
  3. Click Save.

To delete a stop word

  1. Click the stop word that you want to delete.
  2. Click Delete and confirm the deletion.

To export stop words

To export the list of stop words as a CSV file:

  1. Click Export.
  2. Click Export stop words (.csv).

Synonyms

To access synonyms for your search engine, click Synonyms in the nav on the left.

Synonym sets tell OnPoint Search that two or more different words (or alternate spellings of the same word) are the same both for search purposes and indexing purposes. Use synonyms for words or phrases that mean exactly or nearly the same thing as another word or phrase in the same language. For example, “gigantic” is a synonym of “humungous”.

Synonym sets differ from spellings in that synonyms work in both directions. If you set up “gigantic” and “humongous” as synonyms, searches for “gigantic” will include instances of “humongous” and vice versa.

To add a synonym set

  1. Click the Add button (in the top right corner).
  2. Enter two or more synonyms.
  3. Click Add.

To edit a synonym set

  1. Click the synonym set that you want to edit.
  2. Make the desired changes.
  3. Click Save.

To delete a synonym set

  1. Click the synonym set that you want to delete.
  2. Click Delete and confirm the deletion.

To export synonyms

To export a list of synonym sets as a CSV file:

  1. Click Export.
  2. Click Export synonyms (.csv).

Search Preview page (Display)

To open the Search Preview page, click Display in the nav on the left.

The Search Preview display presents a real-time preview of the search engine layout and search results. You can use it to quickly test customizations you make to within the (such as changes to synonyms, spellings, and best matches).

Embed

To access embed code that you can copy and paste into your website to let users search for and display search results, click Embed in the nav on the left.

The embed section displays a snippet of code that you can add to your site’s search results page. When the code is executed, OnPoint Search results will be displayed on the page.