FAQ

Getting Started

What is Site Search 360 and how does it work?

SS360 is a simple way to add a search field (on-site search) to your website for your visitors. If your host or content management system does not provide a good search engine, you can use SS360 to let your visitors search your website’s content quickly and accurately. All you have to do is register on SS360 and point us to your website. Our crawler will visit your website automatically and index every page. As soon as you place our JavaScript widget on your site your visitors will be able to search your content.

How do I add SS360 to my website? Do I need programming skills?

Integrating SS360 is easy and requires little technical know-how. All you have to do is insert the SS360 JavaScript snippet into your site’s HTML template. You should place it in the header of your HTML template and make sure it is integrated within all your pages.

If you use content groups or custom CSS code you might need a bit more HTML, CSS, and JavaScript knowledge.

We do have an HTTP REST API for developers who wish to implement our search via API.

How does SS360 get my content?

There are three methods to get your content into SS360.

Crawling

Just set your domain in the control panel to let the SS360 crawler index your pages. You can even crawl multiple domains at once.

Sitemap

Create a sitemap that contains URLs from all sites that you want to index. Our crawler will get every page and add it to your global index.

API

You can simply add pages from any of your sites via the API using your API key. You can either index by URL or send a JSON object with the indexable contents.

Does SS360 support filters/faceted search?

Yes. There are two methods for transmitting filters to SS360:

  • If you’re relying on the SS360 crawler to index your site, you may place a hidden HTML table in the HTML source code of your pages to add filters.
  • When using the API you’re free to set as many filters as you want directly together with your content uploaded to the API.

Which of my pages will SS360 index? How does indexing work?

If you tell SS360 the domain of your site all of the content will be automatically indexed. The easiest way is to just tell SS360 your domain and let the crawler run for it. First the SS360 crawlers check if there is a sitemap referenced in your robots.txt.

  • If there is no sitemap found the SS360 crawlers visit your specified domain and checks every link which is found on your domain and referenced back to your domain. Every link will be visited and the content of the page is extracted and indexed. Please notice: you may give SS360 a hint how to extract the content of your site best by providing a xpath in the SS360 control panel. This ypath should point to the main content containing DOM element in your template.
  • If you have a sitemap published in your robots.txt on your site the SS360 will use it to improve the indexing performance and will only visit the pages listed there.

If you haven’t referenced your sitemap in the robots.txt or if you want to provide a separate sitemap only for SS360 you may enter the URL referencing that sitemap in the SS360 control panel.

The crawling of your site is started automatically as stated in the plan. If you need more often recrawls please use a custom plan for that.

How can I exclude certain pages from being indexed? Can I exclude a page from SS360 but not from Google?

You can tell SS360 which pages should be indexed and which not.

  • If SS360 is indexing all pages on your domain, you can easily exclude certain pages by placing a robots meta tag in the header of the html document. Just insert there and SS360 won’t index that page.
  • If you only want to exclude pages from SS360 but keep them for Google, you can insert the following meta tag: This stops SS360 from indexing that page, but crawlers from Google and other search engines will continue.
  • In the SS360 control panel you may also blacklist URL patterns so that URLs containing the given pattern won’t be indexed by SS360.

How can I control which content is indexed? How can I prevent SS360 from indexing header, footer, or sidebar content?

You can use the control panel to give the SS360 crawlers an xpath pointing to the exact HTML element that contains the main content. Most HTML templates have one HTML node that contains the actual content on that page, such as a tag-attribute “id” or “class” name like “content”, “main”, “container”, or “wrapper.” Giving SS360 this hint prevents the crawlers from indexing wrong or unnecessary content.

Where can I get more information about using xpaths to point to the main content?

How can I remove pages from the index in case a mistake is already online?

In the SS360 control panel you have the possibility to remove entire URLs or even URL patterns from the current index in no time. Just enter the affected URL (or URL pattern as regexp) and all the content from those pages will be deleted from the index. Please be aware this fix is temporary and you have to blacklist the URLs by regexp pattern or place a robot meta tag with “noindex” on that page to remove it from the index permanently.

Why is a page missing from the search?

Please check the following:

  • Do you have a robots meta tag in the HTML header of that page set to “noindex” which prevents SS360 from indexing that page?
  • Is the page found in the sitemap of your site or at least linked somewhere else?

If neither of those explains the problem, it could be that the SS360 crawlers have received bad HTTP status codes for links provided on your site. These status codes indicate that the page is somehow dead (this is also an issue for your visitors). Often SS360 crawlers see codes like:

  • 400: Sometimes there are mechanisms on the site designed to block crawlers and they deliver status code 400 to SS360.
  • 404: The page may no longer exist on your site, but some links remain.
  • 500: If the server is misconfigured or some pages have special server side code, it is possible an error may occur on the server side and no page can be rendered. This results in an HTTP 500 status code with no content delivered to the crawler.

Please note: During your trial only up to 1,000 pages are indexed!

How is indexing scheduled? Is there a periodic crawling of my site?

The amount of re-index sessions by the SS360 crawlers depends on your plan. The SS360 crawlers run automatically over your site and re-index your content periodically. The exact moment the crawlers are triggered is not configurable and is done automatically by SS360.

However, it is possible to manually re-index your entire site. Just press the “Re-Index Entire Site” button in the SS360 control panel. There you can also update single URLs instead of the entire domain.

How is the SS360 crawler named when visiting the site?

Sometimes it is necessary to know the crawler name of SS360 which is “sitesearch360”. That way your site might react on the crawler and let it pass by. You can define such behavior in the robots.txt of your site:

User-agent: [user-agent name]
Disallow: [URL string not to be crawled]

So that would be

User-agent: sitesearch360
Disallow: https://example.com/secret.html

for the SS360 crawler.

Which file types can be indexed?

HTML files and PDF files can be indexed when they are linked on your website or listed in your sitemap. Please note the free plan does not support PDF files once your trial has ended.

Functionality

Does SS360 include autocomplete and search suggestions?

Yes, we offer autocomplete and it is included in all plans. Once the visitor has typed three letters the search suggestions appear. The suggestions become more precise as the user types more into the search field.

If you use the SS360 content group feature, this will build categories into the search suggestions. Category suggestions appear as separate blocks with their own suggestions in the autosuggestion layover.

Can I merge search results for a domain and a sub-domain into one search?

Yes, you may configure SS360 to gather content from different sites into one index. It does not matter if the different sites are sub-domains of the same main domain or if you are merging completely different domains into one index, SS360 can handle both. After configuration, you will end up with a single search field which searches through the content of multiple domains/sub-domains. This feature is included in all plans – even the free plan.

How can I search through subfolders on my domain?

You can search subfolders by configuring content groups to cluster your content. You can search across content groups or within a specific content group, or you can provide filters which allow visitors to narrow down the results.

What are content groups and how do I define them?

Content groups are used to cluster your content. Once you have defined content groups, you can search across all content groups – so content from all groups will be shown – or you can search in a specific content group so only content from that group will be shown.

You can define content groups in the SS360 control panel by creating URL patterns to characterize content groups and by adding xpath settings for extraction purposes. When using the SS360 HTTP REST API you can define content groups while uploading the data. Please refer to the SS360 API documentation for more details.

Can content groups be used as filters?

Yes, if you search across all content groups, you can then filter by specific content groups on the search result page.

Is it possible for a user to select a content group to search within?

Yes. You can configure the SS360 JavaScript widget to allow users to search directly inside one specific content group. A drop down field like users know from searching departments on Amazon is not available out of the box, but could easily be built using our content groups.

What are "data points"? How are they linked to content groups?

Data points are additional information you have on your pages, such as the author’s name, a release date, or a subtitle, which always appear in the same position. Data points can be defined globally for all pages or specifically for certain content groups so that SS360 will extract this additional information and include it in the search results.

Do you have a server side API? Can I use the API to push content and manually fill the index?

Yes, SS360 has a HTTP REST API which can be used to push pages into the index. The API is easy to use and works with all HTTP enabled programming languages. You can look over the API documentation, view the Postman Collection, or browse examples to see more code to use in your project.

Do you support multiple languages?

Yes, you can implement SS360 for multilingual websites. Each part of your website with its own language requires a separate SS360 account and its own JavaScript widget snippet to be integrated into your site.

Are there any CMS plugins?

Yes, you may integrate SS360 with our free WordPress plugin. The SS360 search solution actually works in any website by placing a JavaScript snippet into the HTML source code of your template.

In which programming language is SS360 written?

The control panel and the HTTP REST API are written in Java and the frontend in JavaScript. Please feel free to edit the frontend JavaScript provided to you. You may also change the default CSS styling.

Is there an upper limit on how many pages can be indexed with a custom plan?

No, there is no limit. We could handle millions of pages, please feel free to ask us how we can improve the search experience on your site.

Can I use SS360 with Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager?

Yes, we support the integration of SS360 into your Google Analytics and/or the datalayer of a Google Tag Manager.

Customization

How customizable is the SS360 search widget? Can I make it look like my current search?

Yes, you’re totally free to customize the SS360 JavaScript widget, simply edit or replace the default CSS styling so that the widget fits your current search/site layout.

Is it possible to add special HTML code to the result pages for certain queries (e.g. for promotions)?

You can add custom HTML content anywhere in the search results for any query you like. For example, if you want your users to see a banner promotion when they search for “food” you would follow this process:

  1. Go to “Query Mappings”
  2. Type the query for which you would like to add your custom content, e.g. “food”.
  3. Decide whether the query must match exactly, only contain the term, or even match a regular expression.
  4. Choose the tab “Order Results” and press “Add Custom Result”.
  5. Edit the newly created custom search result by writing any HTML you want the user to see.

Don’t forget to save your mapping. You can edit or delete that mapping later.

Plan & Trial

I would like to try your solution on a secured staging server. Will the crawler be able to index the site?

Yes, this is possible. In the SS360 control panel you can enter the credentials (username and password) for your domain. The crawler will use the credentials to log in and index your site, even if it is password protected or secured with htaccess, HTTP basic authentication, etc.

What is Site Search 360 branding? Can it be removed?

Depending on your plan, you will either have:

  • Site Search 360 branding: The Site Search 360 logo is displayed in the autosuggestion and above the search results.
  • Less Site Search 360 branding: The Site Search 360 logo is only shown above the search results.

To remove branding you need to update your plan to the “Holmes” plan or higher.

Example of branding in autosuggestion:

Example of branding in search results:

What do the plans cost in other currencies?

All SS360 plans are paid in US Dollar ($). Conversion to your local currency is done using the daily exchange rate from our payment provider.

How can I switch plans?

  • Upgrade: You may upgrade your plan at any time, but you will have to pay for the new plan immediately (even if you have already paid for the current month.)
  • Downgrade: You’re also free to downgrade your plan at any time, but there will be no refund of the already paid month. The lower plan price will begin at the end of the running/paid period.

How does the trial work? What happens when the trial ends?

All new accounts start with a two-week trial of the “Batman” plan, so you have access to all the features of the biggest plan for free. After your trial, if you do not subscribe to a plan you will automatically fall back to the free plan and nothing will be charged. If you subscribe to a paid plan after your trial, you will be charged for the first month immediately.

Please note: if you change plans during the trial – even to the free plan – your trial is ended immediately. Purchasing a plan will end your trial too.

What happens when we reach the query limit on a plan?

SS360 will contact you and inform you about your overuse. Your search will NOT be stopped immediately, but we will request that you upgrade to a higher plan.

Are the prices per month or per year?

The prices are per month. You can switch between monthly and annual pricing in the control panel. There is a 10% discount on annual plans.

Does the monthly price include all languages?

No, the monthly fee is calculated per language. If your site is available in three different languages, you will need to create three separate accounts and subscribe each time to the plan you need to cover your site’s demands.

How do I pay for multiple domains on one account? Do I need to subscribe to a different plan for each domain?

Yes, you can manage multiple domains per account, whether you own different domains yourself or if you are a reseller and want to offer SS360 to all your clients.

Simply create an account and use your main account to generate sub-accounts for each website belonging to you or to your clients.

Each domain must be paid for separately by subscribing to the plan that suits the size of the website. If all your websites fit into the free plan, your whole SS360 account stays free. However, for larger sites you will need to choose a different plan per website based on traffic and the amount of pages on each site.

Do you offer reseller accounts?

Yes, we have reseller accounts. Just register once and then create sub-accounts for each of your clients. You have to purchase a separate plan for each client website.

Do you do OEM arrangements?

No, but you can licence our engine and sell it to your customers with your own rates. Of course you may pay in upfront for a longer time period, e.g. per year if you want.

Which account types include API usage?

API access is only included in the Holmes and Batman plans (as well as in custom plans of course). Trial accounts also provide 2 weeks of API access, so you can experience the full functionality of SS360.

About SiteSearch360

What is your privacy policy? How is my content secured on your servers?

Please read our privacy policy here. Our servers are hosted in Germany and we comply to German privacy regulations. All hard drives on the servers are encrypted and the communication between your site and the SS360 search servers is secured via HTTPS request.