You’ve probably noticed that The Niagara Guide is organized by categories. They’re convenient, but it can still be a challenge to find something specific. We recently added a search engine to the site to make it easier to find companies and organizations. Look in the top menu bar for the search function, or click here.

One thing we learned when switching over to WordPress is that the built-in search engine didn’t do what we wanted. Neither did around a half-dozen other search plugins. Our directory plugin has a search function, but it only works for the directory. You get the picture.

Then we remembered a piece of software we used in a previous incarnation of The Niagara Guide, before our Business Catalyst days: Wrensoft’s Zoom search engine. We used it years ago on our Search Niagara web portal. It was incredibly useful, so we brought it back.

The great thing about Zoom is that it spiders and indexes every publicly accessible page of the website. This includes the pages we create in WordPress plus the individual business listing pages for free listings as well as paid advertisers. Oh yeah, it index the event calendar as well 🙂

What does this mean?

It means for searchers, you can look for whatever you want by keyword. You’re not limited to trying to find things simply by category. Want to find a chocolate shop? Search for “chocolate” and you’ll get the link right away.

For businesses with free listings and people submitting events to the calendar, this gives you a huge opportunity to be found for all the things you have to offer. Because you can customize the description of your business, making sure you provide a good description allows your business to be found for keyword searches more easily.

As with all things, we know that this might be tempting to some business owners to use “keyword stuffing” techniques in their listings. Please keep in mind that all listings are manually verified by a human being and if we see things that don’t belong, we’ll remove them. Keep trying to game the system and we’ll remove your listing. Just a friendly reminder to play nice 😉

We re-index the site in the wee hours of the morning, so any updates you make to your business’ listing page will be reflected in the search index by the following morning at latest.

So, what are you waiting for? Search The Niagara Guide 🙂