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Regaining control of Creighton University’s search results

Outdated content and cluttered search results were a liability for Creighton University’s web properties and needed a solution fast to regain control of its internal search ranking.

Stéphane Recouvreur

Stéphane Recouvreur 05 September 2022

Creighton University

Creighton University, located in Omaha, Nebraska, serves over 8,900 students and nearly 70,000 alumni. Creighton’s nine schools and colleges deliver a powerful education with programs in the arts and sciences, law, business, and health sciences. For 16 years in a row, U.S. News and World Report have named Creighton University the No. 1 regional university in the Midwest.

Industry

Higher Education

Products

Search

Decluttering search

Following the deprecation of Google Search on their website in 2017, the web strategy team at Creighton University was looking for a new search solution they could implement without disrupting other resources of the department.

Outdated content and cluttered search results were also starting to become a liability for the university, and it was urgent for the team to regain control over their search results. Indeed, as the team sought to customize search results for popular queries, their previous solution’s poor ranking of search results was a significant challenge.

A solid user experience

Funnelback search was the perfect solution for Creighton’s unique set of challenges.

First, after indexing their entire website, Squiz built a live prototype to allow iterative feedback from Creighton’s team and guide the direction of the university’s future search.

To speed up implementation, the team was able to re-use Funnelback’s Higher Education template and apply its unique branding, design, and styling requirements.

Second, the use of categories has been implemented on the result page to help users find the information they need faster.

Categories

Also called faceted navigation, those filters are used to refine a set of search results, allowing users to quickly drill down on items or sub-sections of interest within a search that may contain hundreds of thousands of results.

Users can now browse through specific results such as programs, news, faculty, and events.

Another useful feature added to best serve users is the search history right on the results page.

History

Stored in the browser, the user can revisit a results page for a given query or browse through the list of URLs visited.

Funnelback’s Curator tool also empowered the team to improve search results for specific queries that would otherwise be hard to find. For example, compliance information pages are notoriously hard to find and therefore required a “boost” in ranking to show high enough on the page before users give up entirely on their search.

Similarly, best bets are used to pull and highlight specific content to the very top of the results page, particularly for time-sensitive information (before an event for example) or highly sought-after pages (like campus parking).

Categories

Actionable insights

“Squiz provided support and customization and didn’t rest until we were satisfied,” says Kari Watts, Director of Web Strategy at Creighton University. “They were always very supportive and never lost their can-do attitude.”

The web strategy team can now glean actionable insights from their search performance in a matter of seconds. Implementing Funnelback search vastly improved the experience of managing the search and the user experience on the site.