Promoted Results

Our upgraded search tool allows us to configure Promoted Results. Google uses Promoted Results for advertising, however, in our case, they’re the results that we believe are most appropriate to the keywords the user has typed.

Promoted Results have the potential to be a great help to users. There are about 20 things that people search for which account for 90% of queries. Many of these things are known by different names. Scholarships, for example, is probably what people are searching for when they type in ‘bursary’, a term which might be more common overseas. By creating a Promoted Result we can present to the user a ‘best guess’, without excluding the other organic search results.

How to request a Promoted Result

At first, we’re asking you to use the helpdesk. We don’t really know how much demand there’s going to be and what resources we’ll need to service that demand, so the helpdesk will provide us with some valuable reporting. Eventually, we intend that the process will streamline to a simple web form which results in a review process.

The Review Process is going to be important. We’ll be moderating requests to ensure they aren’t too general and are focussed on delivering the right message to users. If there are any problems or changes we need to make, we’ll contact you.

What will they look like?

Promoted Results will be visibly different from organic results. They will display a title, the URL and an optional description, wrapped in a blue box.
A Promoted Result for the Contact Directory
Not visible to the user, Promoted Results also contain a list of keywords, or ‘Triggers’, and an optional date range during which the Promoted Result should be available. A list of the currently configured promoted results is available to view.

Regular Expressions

Selecting keywords for a promoted result is often a bit more complicated than it seems – people can type all sorts of variations which google may or may not realise are related to your promoted result. We can use regular expressions to match patterns instead of specific words. So, for example any search in the form of a question like “how do I…” will trigger a promotion for Ask.unimelb.

Anyway, get to it. Request a promoted result via the ITS helpdesk. We’d love to see more sites using the feature. More general information about the Web Search service on the ITS website.