October 25, 2023

Webinar: "Search Smarter" with HawkSearch

HawkSearch’s very own Jonathan Meyer was joined by Jonathan Read at Sitefinity and Lino Tadros of Visus LLC for a jam-packed 30-minute webinar that went deep into the role of AI and machine learning to help businesses improve their site-search and essentially, “search smarter.” With the rapid advancements in technology, businesses need to understand how to connect customers with content efficiently and these three were ready to take on the challenge with an engaging roundtable discussion and live-site demo of how this works in action.

What Does "Search Smarter" Really Mean?

The idea behind "search smarter" is simple. It's about improving the experience of a visitor coming to a site and executing a search. The aim is to direct users to the relevant content in the most intelligent way. Meyer highlighted the significance of machine learning and AI in enhancing this function. AI, in this context, isn't just about analyzing large volumes of data; it's also about personalization. It's about understanding who is browsing the site based on their previous interactions and leveraging this information to direct them to content tailored to their preferences.

The conversation didn't stop at the theory. Lino presented practical applications of AI in search, providing valuable insights into its actual utilization. One of the primary areas of focus was on the potential of AI in personalization, emphasizing its role in understanding individual user behaviors and preferences.

Transforming Your Sitefinity Site with HawkSearch

The discussion then shifted to the role of HawkSearch in website development, particularly when using Sitefinity. Jonathan Read underscored that while Sitefinity comes with its native search functions, there is real magic in integrating platforms like HawkSearch, which offers advanced AI capabilities. HawkSearch does more than just enhance the search experience. It provides ease of use, enabling content managers to create and modify search parameters effortlessly. Furthermore, HawkSearch offers a federated experience, which is crucial for businesses that have diverse content sources, such as eCommerce platforms or third-party review sites. This integrated search experience ensures users find what they're looking for, regardless of where the content resides.

Jonathan Read perfectly explains this concept by breaking out a website visitor into two personas: clickers and searchers. While some users prefer navigating through sites traditionally, a significant portion jumps straight to the search bar. Recognizing and catering to this latter group is essential for any business. While platforms like Sitefinity offer basic search functionalities, HawkSearch elevates the search experience, making it more intuitive and personalized.

Continuing in the theme of “search smarter,” AI's omnipresence in modern technology was a major point of discussion. Everywhere we look, AI seems to be at the forefront, significantly impacting industries across the board. Meyer shared his insights on the use of AI in search – he explained that at HawkSearch, AI has been part of the search strategy long before its current widespread adoption. The primary goal is not just tracking user behavior but genuinely understanding and predicting user preferences at an individual level. The future, as Meyer sees it, involves generative AI, streamlining back-end processes and making tools even more user-friendly.

The Evolution of Search in the AI Era

Looking towards the future, Meyer gave insight into the upcoming enhancements in HawkSearch. They are leaning into generative AI which requires prompts and produces responses, streamlining various functionalities like suggesting synonyms and creating content for landing pages optimized for SEO. The aim is to transition from simple search terms to more natural language prompts for better user interactions.

After the engaging discussion between the Lino and the two Jonathan’s, viewers of this webinar were able to see these principles in action with a behind-the-scenes look at HawkSearch. Lino took a quick tour around the HawkSearch workbench, showing how the AI multipliers, boost and bury and merchandising rules look like in action. It was a quick – and insightful – look at how easy it is to create a site that allows visitors to essentially “search smarter” with the aid of personalization and recommendations.

Wrapping up the discussion, Jonathan Read chimed in about the partnership between Sitefinity and HawkSearch. Read mentioned the increasing necessity of integrating tools like generative AI in today's digital landscape. He stressed the importance of understanding user behavior, such as whether they prefer clicking or searching, to provide a seamless experience.

In conclusion, the integration of AI into search functionalities, as showcased by platforms like HawkSearch, is not just a trend. It's an evolution, redefining the way businesses connect with their audiences. By understanding and anticipating user behavior, businesses can tailor content, ensuring users find what they need quickly and efficiently. The future of search lies in intelligent personalization, and with the rapid advancements in AI, that future is now.

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