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The Organization

Founded in 1881, the University of Dundee has grown to become an internationally renowned and recognised research institution, which is home to more than 17,000 students from around the world and 3,000 staff.

Regularly ranking highly in student satisfaction and international university league tables, the University of Dundee also boasts the title of ‘Scottish University of the year 2016’, from the Times Good University Guide, in recognition of high student satisfaction levels and ground-breaking research produced.

Key Project Objectives

The Solution

Whilst overhauling their web presence, the University of Dundee were seeking a more sophisticated search solution, which would not only provide more relevant results and help better showcase the courses they offer to prospective students, but also provide more flexibility and analytical output than their current offering.

Specifically, the web team were looking for more control over what areas and domains of the site would be indexed (and importantly, what would be excluded), as well as the freedom and ability to rank results, promote content and learn from analytics – all of which wasn’t possible using their previous Google Custom Search solution.

Impressed by the flexibility offered from Funnelback, the project team's initial focus was to create an intuitive course finder; facilitating users in quickly drilling down and finding information on their relevant course, as well as easily discovering complementary information on what life would be like at the university.

Building on this, the team also wanted to ensure that their overall website search could be equally effective and helpful on a broader range of subjects, indexing content from around 50,000 web pages found on various domains and using key features of Funnelback to help users cut through and expose the content they are looking for quickly and easily.


We have seen a huge benefit of having an excellent course finder that is flexible enough to highlight areas or specific courses throughout the year.

Andrew Millar University of Dundee

The Result

Implementing Funnelback as part of both their bespoke course finder solution and website search function; the web team and wider users from the university have been very impressed with the results, which have both met and exceeded expectations, serving over 2 million queries in the last year alone.

Where they had previously lacked control and freedom over their search solution, the University of Dundee now has the ability to tune their content collections, promote results such as ‘open days’ to the top of listings and intelligently cross-promote areas of the university relevant to prospective students, including content relating to accommodation and student services.

More than just ranking freedom, the smooth migration from Google Custom Search to Funnelback has provided complete control over the style of every element from the search bar through to the layout and content included within the rich search snippets; ensuring a consistent look and feel for every user’s journey.

Answering another key objective, insight from backend features, including the content auditor and search analytics, has proved to be invaluable in helping to optimize the university’s current content structure and future strategy.

The ability to ensure that content which exists is labelled effectively, coupled with the insights from search analytics on what users are searching for (and importantly what they are searching for, but not finding), allows the team to create synonyms and promote results to ensure that users never hit dead ends or are served irrelevant content.

Providing more flexibility, freedom and insights than their previous search solution; Funnelback has played an instrumental part in helping contribute to the University’s new online presence and improving the user experience for visitors to their website.

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