August 19, 2010, 1:00 AM

Advanced site search goes mainstream in new PicoSearch feature

A new tool on PicoSearch’s hosted platform highlights searched terms by color.

PicoSearch, a vendor of hosted site search services, has added a highlighting feature that gives web site operators a customizable tool to help site visitors find specific search terms on the site’s pages. The addition of Hit Highlighting not only adds to PicoSearch’s existing capabilities but illustrates how advanced technology features are migrating to a broader market, says Susan Aldrich, site search expert and senior vice president at consulting firm Patricia Seybold Group. The vendor’s Hit Highlighting feature highlights each searched term in a different color to help visitors quickly find what they are looking for on a page. It also incorporates a navigational feature that places left and right arrow buttons beneath each highlighted word, allowing visitors to scroll from term to term through the site.

The tool is useful in helping consumers find information on content-heavy pages, especially those that extend farther than one screen view, PicoSearch says. The tool also integrates with PicoSearch’s ability to find variations of searched terms, capturing misspellings, for instance.

Highlighting features have been part of higher-priced site search offerings for years, but PicoSearch’s Hit Highlighting represents an example of advanced functionality becoming standard in site search offerings in a lower price range, Aldrich says.

“This is a long-running trend,” she says. “The most valuable features of high-end offerings trickle down to the commodity offerings.”

At the same time, she adds, higher-end site search products are continuing to enrich their feature sets, including the addition of integrated search engine optimization and search engine marketing capabilities in e-commerce environments, and more content management capabilities in enterprise site search.

“The higher end of the market differentiates by broadening their solutions,” she says.

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