Most enterprise search users have high expectations of search tools, driven by their experiences with search online. It has become a normal part of everyday life to simply type a phrase or question into Google and get back a page of results that perfectly answer your query. Enterprise search is often a different story altogether – it is not uncommon for hours to be wasted searching for one single document. The experience of searching online has set the bar incredibly high, which has naturally lead many enterprise search users to ask, “Why doesn’t it work like this on my own computer?”
Google for your business? Not really. Here's what makes the difference.
Here are five reasons why enterprise search is nothing like Google search, and never can be.
1. Google searches websites, enterprise search finds documents
Google has a completely different focus to enterprise search tools – web pages, not documents. The web is created using many different programming languages, but the structure of a web page is nearly always exactly the same, making it very easy for Google’s crawlers to discover relevant content. Documents are created in a completely different way to websites, and there are many more document types to take into account.
2. More specific search means more work
Enterprise search users are usually searching for one very specific file or piece of information. Similar documents are not considered satisfactory because they are simply not the correct file. Google search users rarely search so specifically, so multiple similar results for a query are more than sufficient.
Google users quickly learn that their desired results will be found on the first page of Google, second at a stretch. With enterprise search, users need to restrict their search using filters and more advanced search terms, such as time, date, document type or department.
3. Google has millions of searches to work with
Google can learn about the relevancy of content for certain key words by tracking factors such as the click through rate of a result, the number and quality of links from external websites to a page, shares across social media, and more. Google’s page rank algorithm ranks websites based on over 200 factors, and the millions of searches a day enable it to constantly reassess information relevancy.
Enterprise search solutions have no way of ranking documents in such a way, since linking among documents is rare. There are also far fewer people searching, meaning that an enterprise search tool can’t learn to favor certain results over others.
4. Google expects search engine optimization as the norm
For Google, search optimization is simple: either a website is optimized by building in SEO strategies, or it is downgraded. Web developers add appropriate titles, key words, meta data, descriptions and more to make their page more relevant to certain Google searches and key words. In other words, the people who create the websites make sure that their content is easy to find.
This is where enterprise search struggles most. Users are rarely aware of the power of titles, file names, or key words to create more easily searchable documents. Most people create and name documents however they see fit, which makes finding files created by other users difficult. The only solution is strict information governance. The implementation of strong information management processes are necessary to enable enterprise search users to make the most of their search tool.
5. Confidential documents are not part of Google’s scope
Everything in the enterprise depends on safe and secure access to information – programs, systems, documents and emails are all secured behind passwords and other restrictions. Employees have access to information depending on various user rights; search results and performance are impacted by these restrictions.
Google, on the other hand, doesn’t have to deal with varying levels of security or accessing multiple restricted databases and content management systems. Any information publicly available online can be anonymously searched with Google.
Ultimately, technology is not the only problem when it comes to enterprise search. An effective enterprise search strategy needs to work with people – educating employees about how to use it, implementing and updating document governance practices, or hiring content managers to maintain consistent and clear data structures. Enterprise search will never be like Google search, because they are two different tools, serving two different groups, each with completely different goals in mind.