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Improving Online Motoring Forum Search for PistonHeads

Leveraging Elasticsearch to deliver better search for 4.5 million forum users

pistonheads-haymarket_1.jpgWe teamed up with PistonHeads, the premier online forum for UK motoring and motorsports fans, to supercharge their website search functionality. It’s helping them serve five times the number of searches across their 40 million forum posts. And it’s proving that in search, just like in motorsports, speed counts.


Watch our featured video to learn more



Shifting Search to A Higher Gear

In search, just like in motorsports, speed counts. And with a forum comprising more than 40 million posts, the UK’s PistonHeads website for fans of all things automotive, found their database search function was too slow off the grid. So we helped them implement Elasticsearch across their hundreds of different forums. They’re now serving five times the number of search queries at vastly greater speeds – and taking their customer experience into the fast lane. 

THE CHALLENGE: Helping Four Million Motoring Fans Find What They Need

  • PistonHeads keeps more than four million fans updated with the latest motoring and motorsports news.
  • The site’s huge success was creating its own problems – their search functionality was struggling to keep up with their millions of forum posts.
  • Alternative solutions lacked sufficient customization for their needs.

HOW WE HELPED: Driving Fast, Flexible Searches With Elasticsearch

  • We used Elasticsearch to help them index their 40 million forum posts.
  • Site moderators can now search across hidden forums and prevent the creation of duplicate topics.
  • New website search functionality lets forum users search every post, and filter by user, date, or topic.
  • New posts are indexed just 15 seconds after creation.

THE RESULTS: Supercharged Search

  • A five-fold increase in searches served – now returning 250,000 queries daily.
  • Faster, more accurate results for users, and topics consolidated in one place.
  • Reduced administration and new insights into user search journeys.


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