Sunday, July 20, 2008

Get Better Results When You Refine Your Search

My initial efforts on Googility have been focused on adding new sites and web pages to the search engine. As I've learned more about Google Custom Search I started adding new features. The first new feature is search refinements.

I've placed every site and page in the engine into one or more categories. So when you search for something you'll see a new line appear above your search results stating: "Refine your search for:" and a list of categories applicable to your search will appear. If you click on one of the categories the search results will be further filtered to only include the pages in that category.

These refinements/categories should make it easier to find the pages that best fit your needs.

Here's an example for the results for "a frame":

The red ellipses show the refinements for the whole page and the labels associated with the first result in the list.

Here are categories that should cover useful groups of sites:
  • Blogs
    blogs primarily containing agility training/trialing content.
  • Clubs
    groups of agility folks with our without training or trialing facilities.
  • Equipment
    manufacturers, plans, parts, materials.
  • Forums
    an online forum searchable by Google.
  • General
    any site with wide interest in agility or that makes it not fit the other categories.
  • Organizations
    agility sanctioning bodies, e.g. AKC, USDAA.
  • Services
    video, registration, trial secretary services, etc.
  • Stores
    a site that is primarily for sales or a significant section of a site with other content (not just selling a couple items) generally excludes entries in the equipment category. i.e. the AgilityNerd Store is categorized only under store not equipment.
  • Training
    Facilities and individuals who offer classes, workshops, seminars or private instruction.
  • Training Facilities
    a training and/or trialing facility or school usually with instruction available
  • Video
    site contains agility related professional or amateur video.
Of course some sites fit into multiple categories. Rachel Sander's Fast Forward Dog Sports site is in both the "Trainers" and "Training Facilities" categories because she gives seminars around the country and offers training at her home location. The WI-IL Agility Group is in both the "Clubs" and "Training Facilities" because they are a club but also offer classes and trials at their location.

These categories are still a work in progress. Adding too many specific categories makes the refinements less useful (not enough or no sites match) and too few/broad categories returns too many sites. One challenging entry is Agility Record Book an excellent "donation-ware" software program for tracking your competition and training runs, it is currently in the "Services" category.

Please let me know if these refinements are useful in your searches!

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