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Optimize your article search
Optimize your article search

Help customers find the right content when they search for it.

Beth-Ann Sher avatar
Written by Beth-Ann Sher
Updated over a week ago

We recommend writing an article for each topic customers would find useful. Here are some tips: 

1. Understand the customers’ job

Ask yourself, ‘what task were customers trying to do or what question were they trying to answer when they searched for that term?’ This will help you decide the type of article customers would find most useful. For example:

  • If they searched for the term ‘Slack’ they might want to know how to integrate your app with Slack - create a how-to article detailing the steps. 

  • Or if they searched for ‘productivity’ they might be looking for some productivity tips for their team - create a best practice article, sharing tips on how your own team stay productive. 

  • Or maybe they searched for the term ‘mobile’ to see if you have a mobile version of your app - here you could create an FAQ. 

Note: You know your customers better than anyone else so you’re best placed to guess their search intent 😄

2. Address product limitations 

If lots of your customers are searching for features your product doesn’t have, you should create an FAQ to explain why you haven’t built it. But don’t just stop at ‘no, we don’t have this.’ - provide alternative tips they can try with your product to do the job they need. For example, maybe there’s an integration with another product you could share a link to. 

At Intercom, we found that lots of our customers were searching for the term ‘Magento’ so we created a short FAQ for it. Note that we let customers know that we might build an integration in the future (which gave them an insight into our possible future plans). We also linked to a useful third party integration they could use in the meantime. 

Pro tip: Insights also gives suggestions for what you should build next. If people are consistently searching for features your product doesn’t have, you should feed this valuable data back to your product team.

3. Help customers find the content they need 

Help Center search is based on the number of times a search term appears in the title, description, and body of the article. You can see what customers are searching for and which results they're getting in the Articles Report.

These locations are weighted so search terms in the title are ranked highest, then the description, and last the body. Add the keywords customers are searching for in these three places to ensure the right articles are returned first. 👌 

Note: The article search will always display the 10 most relevant results.

4. Make your content the best it can be 

First, review your content to ensure that it’s the best that it can be. To make your article as useful as possible, review the conversations your customers started from it. This will help you spot what’s wrong, what’s missing and what needs to be better. 

Your article title and description should provide a compelling reason for customers to click through and read it. Let your customers know how the article can help them and include words they’ll likely search for. 

5. Promote your low traffic articles

  • Talk to your customer support team and make sure they’re sharing relevant content in conversations. Remind them that sharing articles through the inbox will help make your smart suggestions more accurate and valuable for customers. 

  • Send customers a message directing them to the article, right when they’ll need it. For example, if you have an article that helps customers track their project’s progress, you could create an event and trigger the message to send right after they create their third project. 

  • Look out for opportunities to link to your low traffic articles from relevant high traffic articles. Focus your link text on how it will help customers - this will convince them to click through. 

  • Share articles that the majority of your social media followers can benefit from on your most popular social media channels. This works particularly well for best practice articles that contain both product and non-product specific advice. 

  • If your article is particularly engaging you could write a blog post about it and link to it from here for people who’d like to learn more. 

If those tactics don’t work, you should consider whether this article is still useful for customers. Get rid of content that no longer helps your customers succeed - it will only get in the way of helping them find content they do need.

Pro tip: Optimize your content

  • The more often a keyword appears in an article, the higher that article is ranked in search results.

  • Words in titles or descriptions are weighted more heavily than those in an article’s body content.

  • The overall frequency that a word is used across all articles may also impact the ranking. - i.e if a word is used very frequently, it's deemed less important.

Search in multilingual Help Centers

The following languages have full localized support when searching with them in the Help Center:

  • Arabic, Brazilian, Bulgarian, Catalan, Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hungarian, Indonesian, Italian, Latviski, Lithuanian, Norwegian, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Spanish, Swedish & Turkish.

Other languages may have unexpected search results. If you experience any issues with search in your Help Center, just reach out in the Messenger and let us know. 😉

What’s next? 

The Articles Report breaks down how your articles are performing and helps you identify where corrective action might be needed. Next, we recommend improving your articles that get negative reactions.


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