Located northeast of Los Angeles, Azusa Pacific University (APU) is home to almost 10,000 students and offers 68 bachelor’s degrees, 45 master’s degrees, and eight doctoral programs.
APU needed a replacement for Google Search Appliance that provided more features and customizability than they had with Google.
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Moving on From Google Search Appliance
After years of using the Google Search Appliance for their website, the web team at Azusa Pacific University (APU) was faced with a new challenge when Google announced it was phasing out the product.
Once the school started looking at new search options, they realized how many features they needed and wanted, including:
- The ability to seamlessly integrate search into their website
- Keyword matches that could be manually placed at the top of results
- Full control of search results and how they rank and appear
According to Dustin Reynolds, Assistant Director of Digital Marketing at APU, one of the most important “must-haves” was for multiple team members to be able to access the tool and work on refining the search options. “If a team knew what should appear in the results and they could do it themselves without having to pass it to a developer, then it would make the process much more efficient within the office,” Dustin said.
Easy, Fast Implementation of Swiftype
Once APU chose Swiftype, they were amazed at how fast it was to implement—around two weeks. During that short time, APU implemented customization features, fallback pages, and the weighting of search results. They also created custom meta tags to help the search engine serve the results the user expected to find.
Swiftype Advantages Over Google Search Appliance
APU has seen big advantages from Swiftype over Google Search. According to Dustin, the lower price of Swiftype was a big plus, compared to Google. In addition to cost, APU now has the ability to change things quickly, weight terms differently, and customize how certain sections of the site are ranked. “This is a big deal for us because we feel like we’re providing better quality service to the user now,” according to Dustin.
Visibility into Conversions and User Behavior
One of the main goals of the APU website is to get prospective students to fill out a form to request more information on a school program. With Swiftype, APU now has a window into what’s happening with user behavior on the site and what search results are proving most useful.
Results Ranking is Key
With a large, robust site, APU has found the results ranking capability of Swiftype invaluable. “Anything can show up for a search term,” according to Dustin, especially when people are searching on the mobile platform and letters are skipped or doubled up when typed into the search window. “Now we can look and say, “Oh, clearly they were trying to type ‘admissions’ or ‘accreditation’ and account for that.”