What is Solr Search & How Can it Help My Business?

Serving users the content they want, when they want it, isn't optional anymore. With the rising ease-of-use of Google and equally sophisticated search engines, users are coming to expect high-quality search results that help them locate the information or product they need easily and promptly. Users are now beginning to insist that the polished search features found at Google.com also be available to them at individual websites. Whether users are shopping, job hunting, or socializing, they have come to expect robust online search features and intelligent results that are second to none. Because of this demand, online businesses of all sizes are looking for the same thing - a highly visible, scalable, easy-to-maintain search solution that doesn't cost a fortune to install.

One impressive way to fulfill these user needs is with Apache Solr, the Lucene Java-based, open-source, search server. Solr offers faceted searching, full text searching, hit highlighting, rich document handling, and supports multiple formats for output.  Developers may choose to use Solr's basic search functionality, which is already remarkable, or they may extend Solr to meet the needs of enterprise level organizations. Solr, written in Java, operates as a standalone search server, meaning Solr can be easily integrated with your existing Drupal website. Being an open-source search platform, Solr also has a vibrant and stable developer’s community.

Smart online businesses have been utilizing Solr for years to help users narrow down results by reviews, brands, price, product types, authors or numerous others. These categorized search results are the product of Solr’s “faceted browsing”, which is a way of classifying results that have been returned to users into meaningful categories that are then used to help users further refine their search results.

Sites such as Zappos.com use Solr’s faceted search features to help users narrow down their results quickly and accurately, saving user’s time and increasing the sites conversion rates.  Netflix embraced Solr’s powerful search capabilities in 2007, and they haven’t looked back since. By 2010, Netflix’s Solr server was serving over 8 million subscribers with 1.2 million queries/day. Today the company has well over 30 million subscribers.

Netflix is not the only organization that has harnessed the power of Solr. Other big players include Comcast, Instagram, e-Harmony, Sears and The Whitehouse. For a more complete list of the big names using Solr search, head over to the Solr Wiki.


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Drupal Geeks is a full service Drupal Website Development firm based in Chicago, Illinois. We proudly provide Drupal website design, development, and maintenance for customers throughout the US, UK, and Japan. We are available to help you setup your Solr server and integrate Solr search into your website. Contact us today to see how we can help your users find what they need on your site.  Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter and Facebook!