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Content Annotation, Taxonomy and Search Findability A conversation with Lynette Ledoux, Customer Success and Search Specialist, SearchUnify

Video produced by Steve Nathans-Kelly

High content quality, including good metadata and tagging, is key to the effective usability of enterprise search for multiple business use cases. However, “writing for the web” type training for content authors does not focus much, if at all, on the elements of findability that can be embedded into content. These include making sure content authors use the correct business terminology and language, and that they include certain words and phrases with both a frequency and proximity to each other that search engines’ algorithms can use to provide relevant results.

Marydee Ojala: One thing that never fails to surprise me when I am interacting with enterprises and organizations that are implementing enterprise search is that a lot of people think search engines are some kind of magic. It's this wonderful black box and you put in stuff and everything you ever wanted to know comes right back to you. I can reliably tell you that that's not the way it works. Enterprise search engines, regardless of how good they are, regardless of what features and functionality they have, to make the magic work, it takes really good content, quality content behind the scenes. What are your thoughts are on this and any customer examples that you'd like to share?

Lynette Ledoux: Yes, I can totally identify with people wanting search to be a magic bullet, but that's just not the way it works. All of our clients are SaaS companies themselves. They produce content to support the sales usage, troubleshooting of their specific product lines. Often, teams aren't collaborating when they're producing this content. So different teams own different types of content and because of this, they're not aligning on vocabulary. The voice of the customer may or may not be present in the content and the metadata. Some content might have it, some might not, and the content sources that do, it's probably going to be inconsistent.

Producing content in silos isn't necessarily a bad thing in and of itself, but we often find that when this is happening, reports start coming in of tech support agents or customers saying, “Hey, I have gone to all of these different places and done all of these different searches and I still can't find what I need.” That is a bad customer experience. When you're talking to your leadership, you might have to connect the dots. What it means for customers is increased effort, decreased satisfaction, and decreased loyalty. And for agents, it negatively impacts their KPIs. First contact resolution is low, time to resolution is high, and abandonment rate is also high.

Marydee Ojala: Isn't that the promise of a federated search solution. Once you bring these content silos together, doesn't that solve the problem of findability?

Lynette Ledoux: Sure, kind of. Putting everything together or surfacing everything in one place certainly decreases effort, but a lot more than just funneling all information into one place goes into findability. Consistent vocabulary is important. The presence or absence of metadata is important. I have a good example. I was talking to my kids about this pretty recently. We stream our music through Spotify. I have a subscription, so I have a named account, and pretty recently we decided to play with a newish 2023 AI feature called the Spotify DJ. It's GenAI, powered by OpenAI. The DJ has a human voice and it is actually playing songs for you.

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