What’s Your Problem?

Power-searching EMC Online Support

change-socrates-quote.jpgChange is seldom easy. Even if the change is for the better… it’s still change.  There’s often a learning curve involved. And when the change affects something you do every single day, that curve can look steep.

That can seem like a problem. But it doesn’t need to be.

When we rolled out the Google Search Appliance (GSA) on Online Support this past September, we expected it would change some things. And we were right. It dramatically reduced the number of results the average searcher sees, when they type their query and hit Enter. It also dramatically increased the number of results that showed less than 100 results. That tells us we are now showing people more narrowly targeted results than ever before.

But still, we’ve heard feedback that results are not always matching what folks are searching for. That’s a problem we’re actively solving.

With Google.com, people are accustomed to typing in their term, hitting Enter, and seeing the exact right results come back. Like Google.com over the past decade+, GSA needs to learn from our behavior. We humans at EMC also need to learn from your search activities.

And as we’re all learning and making the system better for you, here are some things you can do to simplify your searches – and increase the chances that you’ll find you what you seek:

  1. Know your issue and state it clearly

    What’s the problem you’re trying to solve? Use double-quotes to get results for exact phrases.  For example, a search for data pool utilization will return thousands of results about data and pools and utilization, while "data pool utilization" will return results about that topic specifically.

    • What product does it relate to? Enter your product name in the Scope by product field and/or add the product name in the top search box.

    What are you NOT trying to solve?  Use the – sign (e.g., to exclude all version 3.2 results, add  -3.2 to your query).
  2. Use the whole search results page to find your results

    • You may find what you seek on the left side of the page. A lot of people miss the “facets” on the left, which show results that do not appear if your original search returns zero results. You can not only select from different resources, but you can also narrow down your problem to a specific product/product family – and work from there.

  3. Bookmarks may help – or they may be a problem.

    • Your bookmarked search results may not work the same way, anymore. GSA is a very different search engine from our prior technology. Yes, things have changed. And you may need to update your bookmarked searches to use the new capabilities we offer.

    • Your new searches may actually be less complicated than before. With updated search, you can type your query in the top field and may never need Advanced Options. Getting the right results may be a matter of starting from scratch and keeping things simple, versus selecting a lot of additional parameters.

    • Got your query right? Bookmark it for future reference.

Nobody likes having a problem. And one of the reasons you come to EMC Online Support is to help solve the problems you unfortunately encounter. We actively monitor Online Support search activity, tracking queries that produce no results – or large numbers of answers which may not be relevant – and tuning the system to meet the needs you’ve told us you have.

We’re always working to make search better, so please share your experiences and feedback in the comments below, or in our feedback survey.  Search optimization is an ongoing effort at EMC Online Support, and it’s happening even as I write this.

If it weren’t… well, that would be a problem.

Kay Stoner

Principal Program Manager – Search Lead, Online Support

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About the Author: Kay Stoner