IT Science Case Study: Searching for a New Search Vendor

LegalZoom evaluated several different vendors but chose Algolia because staff was confident it could help them create the relevant search experience they were aiming to build.

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Here is the latest article in the eWEEK feature series called IT Science, in which we look at what actually happens at the intersection of new-gen IT and legacy systems.

Unless it’s brand new and right off various assembly lines, servers, storage and networking inside every IT system can be considered “legacy.” This is because the iteration of both hardware and software products is speeding up all the time. It’s not unusual for an app-maker, for example, to update and/or patch for security purposes an application a few times a month, or even a week. Some apps are updated daily! Hardware moves a little slower, but manufacturing cycles are also speeding up.

These articles describe new-gen industry solutions. The idea is to look at real-world examples of how new-gen IT products and services are making a difference in production each day. Most of them are success stories, but there will also be others about projects that blew up. We’ll have IT integrators, system consultants, analysts and other experts helping us with these as needed.

Today’s Topic: Searching for a New Search Vendor

Name the problem to be solved: LegalZoom, a popular online legal support service with more than 4 million customers (November 2018), was searching for a new search vendor and took the opportunity to rethink their entire search experience. Staff needed a solution that would allow search to become a core competence of the LegalZoom enterprise.

Describe the strategy that went into finding the solution: LegalZoom evaluated several different vendors but chose Algolia because staff was confident it could help them create the relevant search experience they were aiming to build. They also valued Algolia’s website crawler and its portfolio of customers.

San Francisco-based Algolia's hosted search API helps product builders create fast, highly relevant search to connect their users with important information.

List the key components in the solution:

  • The web crawler
  • The ability to surface relevant results against questions and phrases, rather than product keywords alone
  • Query Rules, and the ability to promote content
  • The customer service experience from pre-sales to post-implementation

Describe how the deployment went, perhaps how long it took, and if it came off as planned: The implementation was timely and things generally stuck to the plan and timeline.

Describe the result, new efficiencies gained, and what was learned from the project: LegalZoom learned new information on user search behavior about which it previously didn’t have insight. The company learned that users often search for items not available on the home page. Users also often search with question phrases, rather than product keywords, it discovered.

Describe ROI, carbon footprint savings, and staff time savings, if any: Search is now a revenue-driving product, whereas before it was a hidden feature that didn’t perform well. Since launching Algolia, LegalZoom has been able to tailor the buyer journey to include all necessary content, touch points and products to reduce buyer abandonment.

If you have a suggestion for an eWEEK IT Science article, email cpreimesberger@eweek.com.

Chris Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger is Editor-in-Chief of eWEEK and responsible for all the publication's coverage. In his 13 years and more than 4,000 articles at eWEEK, he has distinguished himself in reporting...