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Intranet Search Engine Choice

How should you choose a search engine for your intranet?


  • Today's intranet search engines are highly capable
  • What makes the difference is how you implement them


Commercial or Open Source?

Open source provides two extremely capable leading contenters, Solr and Elasticsearch, both of which are based on the Lucene search engine.

Solr is mature, extremely reliable, and detailed in terms of the functionality that it provides. Elasticsearch is relatively young, but has been developed by a commercial company in a more co-ordinated way. It is significantly easier to implement than Solr.

Both options are available for use free-of-charge under the Apache 2.0 license, and both also have commercially supported packages, available under subscription.

Leading commercial contenters include the Google Search ApplianceMicrosoft Azure Search, and Amazon CloudSearch.

Implementation Approach

Often, the most difficult part of the implementation is the gathering and processing of content, prior to indexing. This may require the use of data connectors, if all content is not directly crawlable. Where content is crawlable, some filtering of crawled pages, for example to remove menu structures and page footers which otherwise cause false-positives and relevancy challenges, is often necessary.

Depending on the data landscape and user requirements, the intranet search system can benefit from customized search navigation options. These are driven by meta data, which will require capturing from the source and parsing, or creating in an automated way during the indexing process.

Although general IT staff should be able capable of conducting a basic implementation of an intranet search engine, they typically do not have the specialist knowledge to tune the search system. Hence, many intranet search experiences fundamentally work, in that they return results in answer to queries, but they lack relevancy, and do not provide a comprehansive search service over intranet content.

This is where Search Technologies can help. Tuning search systems is our business, and we have experience with all of the leading intranet search engines.

Contact us for an informal discussion of your intranet search needs.