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Case study

Learn how USL improved their cross-domain on-site search experience

Website site search case study

The United Soccer League (USL) is the biggest professional soccer organization in North America, encompassing four leagues and over 210 clubs across the US and Canada. For three decades, USL has aimed to bring soccer into the homes and stadiums of millions around the world.

With a growing number of leagues and teams, the United Soccer League (USL) needed a smart search platform across their network. Power and scalability were a must, but most importantly, the platform needed to let USL be self-sufficient.

After gathering a wishlist of must-have and nice-to-have features and benefits, USL was able to settle on Site Search to power its on-site search experience.

We sat down with Mark Hite, the Digital Services Manager at USL, to have a chat about and how it is helping his team improve user-experience across their digital network.

"The ability to control everything ourselves rather than having to go back and forth with support really added to our ability to be more self-sufficient on our side. Thanks again!"

Mark Hite, Digital Services Manager, United Soccer League

Cross-domain functionality

For a sports organization that operates multiple leagues and many teams within each, a platform that can search through many different domains is a necessity.

USL needed a search experience that could direct their users to all of their domains, without needing to build multiple indices and customizing each. “We wanted an option where we could build out a search that could search across all of our domains,” says Mark, “and highlight the pages that we wanted to highlight.”

With's cross-domain functionality, USL was able to easily index and add each of their domains and subdomains to their Collection. After building a search Collection that covered all of their sites, USL’s users can now find all of the pages from across their digital network, from a central search index.

"A lot of other options that we explored on our side were looking for more of a back and forth. We wanted to have the ability to be a little bit more self-sufficient on our side, while still having a good level of customer support."

Custom interface filters

But even once USL had all of their domains into a single Collection, they needed a way for their users to search and find exactly what they needed.

Custom filters, for each of their domains, mean USL’s searchers are able to find the information they need easily and unobtrusively. USL is now able to enjoy the benefits of improved user experience across their site while converting more of their users.

"Having the ability to search across multiple domains is great, but at the same time, the ability to create unique and fluid filters with was the biggest attraction for us. A lot of other filters that we saw were pretty clunky, which would reduce the chance of the user finding a certain article and staying active on our site."

Content boosted by year

With an organization that runs off play season’s and current schedules, it is imperative that USL ensures its users are seeing the most relevant and up-to-date information.

To direct their users to see the pages that they should see, USL uses custom rules to boost content by published date. By boosting the pages that are tagged as the current year, USL can dictate what information is returned for a given query across the board - without having to manually adjust search results for every query iteration that they would expect on-site.

"We can now go into the Console and say ‘Okay, all articles with publish date of 2018 we want to demote, but everything with 2019 we want to promote a little bit.’ To have a more custom influence with boosting results is really great."

The verdict

USL has implemented across all of its leagues’ domains, with plans to deploy across over 40 of their team websites.

Since implementing, USL has managed to direct their users to more important pages across their entire digital network, while also improving user-experience across the board. Mark and the team are able to regularly check the Console to perform on-the-fly recrawls and monitor and download rich search analytics.

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