A great search engine is so effortlessly competent that you barely notice it. Only when you have to do battle the search results do you recognize that a website’s search could be so much better.
If you offer content from your association’s annual meeting online, you would be wise to give search some serious thought. A simple keyword search, based on the meta description you provide to your site manager, may not tell the whole story of the information included on the page.
Say an attendee searches for a specific technical consideration discussed in a paper. That aspect of the presentation wasn’t a main point, so you didn’t include it in the metadata. Neither the attendee nor you was wrong to take those actions, but the search won’t be successful, and the attendee will leave that interaction with your site unsatisfied and frustrated.
With full text search, however, every word in the abstract is considered when a search term is entered. Go beyond the keyword and your attendees will get what they need from your online conference materials. They’ll leave your site with the information they need and consider your association the right place to find quality content quickly and easily.
But that payback is so subtle, it’s not even consciously recognized. Sometimes the best impression you can hope for is a neutral one; the alternative is worse.