DGS - No more no-hits
With a tradition of over 100 years of presence within the directory market, www.dgs.dk has become the destination of choice for online directory search. It’s renowned for its quality and stability. In 2004 DGS, De Gule Sider, asked Apptus for a new search engine platform to handle a massive increase in load, improved performance and accuracy.
DGS turned to Apptus to rebuild the heart of their online business – Denmark’s Yellow and White Pages. The brief was clear; make the search engines smarter and faster – handle more search queries with higher relevance and less no-hits. Apptus took an iterative approach to designing the platform allowing DGS to fine-tune ranking criteria and integration of business logics. This includes the latest technology Waterfall search. Behind the scenes, Apptus Search Engine performs hundreds of search requests until all relevant combinations, exceptions and irregularities have been explored and handled. We go beyond standard functionality such as handling misspellings, synonyms and stemming. The outcome is a relevant hit-list where results are weighted and sorted based on business rules, not just a long list with hits based on users’ queries to some extent. We raised the accuracy and performance of the site by faster and smarter query processing. Moving from seconds to approximately five milliseconds has given dgs.dk the competitive edge they aimed for. The short response time in the search engine has given dgs.dk the possibility to include advanced functionality at a lower cost.
Focusing on business drivers
In 2006 DGS decided to add additional values to their weblink feature. “We made a decision to offer hundreds of thousands buyers the ability to gain better relevancy in their search. Google has a vast array of content and links, but you really aren’t getting the vertical focus you can get on DGS,” says Patrick Mesterton, Director, DGS Online. At the same time the advertisers asked for more value for their investments. The process of producing the advertisers’ profile pages was manually managed and time consuming, so the customer penetration didn’t fulfil the sales efforts’ full potential. Detailed search queries, such as “Audi A4 coupé” didn’t generate any hits, simply because the data wasn’t there. Apptus came up with a solution to analyze all web content to find the most relevant product page, present a text chunk from the advertiser’s website and display the specific weblink pointing directly to the product page within the site. DGS liked the idea and the search of the yellow pages was extended to cover unstructured websites, meaning that even if a query falls through the yellow pages database, it will still generate relevant hits.
“Crawling the web from a yellow perspective is a different challenge than building a web index. People searching directories are interested in products, price and contact information,” explains Michael Mokhberi, VP Strategic Business Development at Apptus. “Our challenge was to find the optimal balance between data volume and relevancy for the Danish web – a challenge we were ready to take.”
The open interface of the platform provides the data managers and information officers at DGS a comfortable control and insight into the system. They can follow the path of a webpage through the entire process and see exactly what happened, when and why. The behaviour and coverage of the system can easily be updated making the solution extremely resource efficient. The new search engine handles more than 300 queries per second on a few low cost Linux based servers and provides end-users with the ability to search the web from a commercial view with high relevance and without experience performance issues. “The no-hit ratio has dropped by almost 50% and the deep links shown towards relevant pages within the advertiser’s website adds new and measurable values to our offerings,” says Kenan Carki, Technical Specialist, DGS Online. “Apptus’ technology platform, branch expertise and cost-efficiency have elevated our roadmap in a rapid pace and pushed us forward toward new strategic goals. We are truly impressed,” says Patrick Mesterton, Director, DGS Online. With DGS the saga continues and we know we have done our jobs well when the projects we launch not only get talked about, but get our clients exactly the results they envisioned back in the planning phase.