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UB Web Management

Transforming UB’s digital communications through process and tools

Setting up a Site-Wide Search

UB uses a custom version of Google to run our local searches. Site-wide search is a standard UBCMS feature, common on larger or more complex sites.

On this page:

To host a search on your UBCMS website, you will first need a 'Search Results' page. Not all site templates have this page, so it may not have been included when your site was first created.

Does Your Site Have a Search Results Page?

Location of the Search Results page in the Site Admin Console.

Location of the Search Results page in the Site Admin Console.

Look in your websites folder (e.g. /content/www/your-site) for a page named "searchresults" (/content/www/your-site/searchresults).

If your site does not yet have a site-wide search, one can be added easily.

Not every site needs a search — it all depends on how much content you are providing, and how easy it is for your visitors to find the information they are seeking.

If your site does not have a 'Search Results' page, your Unit Web Leader or Site Manager can request it through the Special Request form.

1- Configure Your Search Results Page

Once your site has a Search Results page, any author can configure it for you. 

Search component opened for editing.

The page comes with a Search component preinstalled, which is configured in the same way as the standard Search component.

2- Edit Your Site's Header

Once you have a Search Results page, and it is configured, you are ready to adjust the search box in the site's header.

Only a specialist can edit site configuration files.
For assistance, contact the Help Desk

  1. From the website console, navigate to your site's Site-Wide Configuration folder (for example, /content/www/your-site/config/).
  2. Open the Header page.
  3. Edit the search box component in the upper right of the page.
    • Search results page - Enter the location of your Search Results page;
      for example, "/content/www/your-site/searchresults"
    • Leave the other two fields blank.

Use the magnifying tool to enter the location of the Search Results page.

If you enter a bad path, you can 'break' your site.

Enter the location of your Search Results page in the settings for the search component of the Header page in Site-wide Configuration.

Enter the location of your Search Results page in the settings for the search component of the Header page in Site-wide Configuration.

3- Activate Your Search

This assumes your website has been launched and all pages you wish to be indexed are activated. If that is not the case, hold off on activating your search until you are ready to launch your website.

  1. Navigate to your site's Site-Wide Configuration folder (e.g. /content/www/your-site/config/).
    • Re-activate the Header page.
  2. Navigate to your site's main folder (e.g. /content/www/your-site/).
    • Select your new search results page (e.g. /content/www/your-site/searchresults).
    • Activate your new search results page from the toolbar.

- See an Example

Search Suggestions and Tips for Users

Example of search box suggestions.

Example of search box suggestions.

Search Suggestions

The standard UBCMS search box offers 'suggestions' as people type in their search query.  These suggestions are based on actual search queries entered by visitors to ALL of our websites that use the UB Google search appliance.  

These suggestions cannot be adjusted, but they can be turned off on a site by site basis. Contact DCT Help if you wish to turn them off.

 

User Search Tips

Here are some additional tips for getting the most out a UBCMS search.  They are available as shared content so you can share them with your site visitors.

Additional Considerations

1- When Will My Search Start to Work?

Searches can only 'see' published content. (They also cannot see into secure pages, or pages that are completely hidden from navigation.)

For a site that is already live, once you have a search results page and that page is activated, our search engine will begin to index your site. For most sites, this process will happen within a day so you should expect to see the search 'working' within several hours.

For a brand new site, to ensure that your search results are not empty when your site first launches (before it is indexed by our search engine), consider launching your site without activating the search results page. Without the search results page, the search box in the header will also not show. Then a day or two later, activate the search results page. Your search will then function normally.

2- How Quickly Does the Search Get Updated?

Changes to existing pages and new pages may also take time to appear in search results, but you should expect to see them by the next day. This process will occur faster if your site is known to our search engine to change frequently (i.e. the more often you change your site content, the sooner changes will be reflected in search results).

Deleted pages will similarly continue to display in search results for some time after the changes are made, although visitors who attempt to click through to the deleted page will land on a 404 ("content missing") page. Again you should expect these changes by the next day, and this process will occur faster if your site is known to our search engine to change frequently.

UB's search engine will not be able to find your site if it is not linked from other UB pages it indexes. This situation is very unusual, as most sites are linked to other UBCMS sites even if the path to them is quite lengthy, but if your site is not being found it may need to be added by special request to the list of "start pages" for our search crawler. For assistance, contact the Help Desk.

3- Don't Hide Content

Just like the commercial Google search engine, our local Google appliance creates an index of our UBCMS system by periodically crawling through all live UBCMS sites. In essence, it crawls through your site by following the links on your pages, including links embedded in Flash content, and even in associated files like PDF and Word documents.

For a page to be indexed it must be accessible by a direct path of links from your home page. The search appliance will not follow links embedded in Javascript code, and it cannot submit HTML forms (so for example, your 'thanks' page may be hidden). 

The crawler will find content in external embeds as long as the external embed is just displaying HTML, but if the external embed uses AJAX or JavaScript to pull in that content, it will not be indexed. (Your site must also be linked from other previously published UBCMS sites, otherwise the search engine will not find it to begin with, but only rarely is this not the case.)

Beware if you use any of the following custom features:

  • Secure content and even links to secure pages are normally hidden from the search engine. If you want them visible in a search you will need to take extra steps.
  • Be careful when you set Page Properties as 'hide in navigation' or 'hide in lists' -- depending on how your site is constructed, this may hide it from the search engine.
  • Shared Content may be missed if it is only accessible through a carousel, slide deck, or list that only reveals some of the content (a random display of several slides from a large collection, for example).
  • Content that is only accessible through special scripting may also be missed (e.g. external embeds, Javascript, form submissions).

If your site utilizes some of these custom features, you may benefit from setting up a master archive page that reveals all of your site's content. You will need to make this archive page clickable off another page on your site, perhaps in the footer. For example, the News Center provides a "browsable archive" of old news releases in its Media Kit.  

If you have any questions, contact the Help Desk.

4- How Can I STOP a Page Being Indexed?

If you intentionally wish to block a page from being indexed by our search engine, or Google, add one of the following codes to your Page Properties, in the Advanced tab, under Head Content:

  • <META NAME="ROBOTS" CONTENT="NOINDEX">
    This tells spiders not to index this page, period.
  • <META NAME="ROBOTS" CONTENT="NOINDEX, NOFOLLOW">
    This tells spiders not to index this page, but it is ok to follow links that lead off the page.

Only add one of these codes.

Add this code to every page that you wish not to be indexed. 

> Read more about NOINDEX codes.

5- Custom (404) Error Pages

Default 404 error page.

Default 404 error page.

When someone tries to load a page that does not exist on your site, perhaps after clicking an old bookmark, a 404 page appears in its place. (404 is the name of a particular server error, in this case, indicating that the page was 'not found').  

We are able to install a custom 404 page (or other error pages) for an entire virtualhost (e.g. all of mgt.buffalo.edu) by special request. CIT will then place your version of the 404 page where it will be generated automatically whenever one of your visitors tries to load a non-existing page.  

You’ll need to provide us with the complete HTML code for your new page, such as by making a page in the UBCMS and then copying and adjusting the HTML source until you are satisfied with what people will see. (These error pages are served by the apache proxy server, rather than the actual UBCMS servers and there is not an automatic connection for the error pages like there is for normal pages.)

Use the Special Request form to send us the details.

6- Adding a Second Search to a Site

In addition to your main search in the header, a second search can be implemented for your forms or policies in a customer service area. To add an additional search, use the Search component.

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