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London Borough of Waltham Forest building

London Borough of Waltham Forest

Boosting visitor search results for Waltham Forest Council

The Client

Waltham Forest Council is the local authority for the London Borough of Waltham Forest in London. Responsible for services such as social care, libraries, cemeteries and refuse collection.

The Challenge

Waltham Forest Council already had Apache Solr set up on their public website, however they felt that this search solution could be working harder. They wanted an audit to be completed on their Apache Solr setup, to pinpoint improvements which when implemented could boost the search results for their residents.

They were also looking to implement a similar solution on their current and new intranet, to enable their internal staff to have the same search benefits as their residents. It was also key for their team to gain advice and guidance on producing search-friendly content to ensure that their search solutions were supported in the future.

Desktop, Macbook, tablet and iPhone showing pages from Waltham Forest Council’s website

The Solution

Our team started by evaluating Waltham Forest Council’s current Apache Solr system. This included gathering basic statistics on the document base, query sets and relevancy tuning. We also checked the initial installation to ensure that it was set up according to best practice and avoiding all common configuration problem areas. Based on our initial evaluation, we were able to tune the system based on the sample queries.

For the intranet we were able to install our Search as a Service product. This is a mature, custom-developed, weighted search query tool. It provides fast accurate searching ‘out of the box’ but we completed small tweaks to tailor it to Waltham Forest Council’s specific needs.

In order to provide advice and guidance to the Waltham Forest Council team on producing search-friendly content we proposed a short discovery phase. This enabled us to work with the internal team to truly understand their residents, what they might be looking for, the type of searches they might make and the kind of search terms they might use during this process.

We then worked with them using the above to create an exhaustive list of keywords that could be used as the base to create site categorisation and taxonomies. The aim of this was to provide powerful ways for users to refine their search results or start with an advanced search.

We also worked on understanding the importance of short descriptions, so that residents can quickly assess whether a page is relevant. As well as creating searchable non-text content to ensure that images, videos and audio content would also be searchable.

Our team worked to future proof the search ability by helping the Waltham Forest Council team to use future search data in order to inspect and iterate key data such as keywords, taxonomies and short descriptions. The end result was that Waltham Forest Council were able to offer powerful search results to external residents via their public website and to their internal team via their intranet. The internal content team were also empowered to create search-friendly content and use search data to improve the service in the future.

Get in Touch

Looking for a similar search solution? Find out more about our Search Consultancy and Search as a Service product. Alternatively Contact Us to discover how we can help you.

Find out more about

Search as a Service

Search as a Service is a cloud-based search product from Axis12 using Apache Solr technologies.
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