Q: What Does “Search” Search?
A: Anything that’s viewable on a page.
When talking about site search, “viewable on a page” covers any static page content, such as element titles, and text within Content elements. Page Titles (as defined in the Page Settings - the pink gear icon at the bottom of the page) are also indexed.
It also covers dynamic content, meaning content that appears in elements based on the element’s settings, or based on a user’s clicks on another page (such as when a user clicks on a calendar event, and the event details appear on a new page.)
“Viewable” is a surprisingly technical concept, but the basic idea is that not all of the information about a page can be seen when a user visits it. Information that users cannot see is not indexed in site searches.
“SEO” tags (“Keyword,” “Description,” etc.) are not indexed in site search.
Those fields determine how your site is displayed when it’s included in results on third-party search engines like Google; they do not apply to internal searches.
Meta tags are not displayed on a page, so if we returned them as search results users would click on them and be taken to a page that doesn’t actually display the content they clicked on. This leads to users thinking that the search doesn’t work, when actually it works a little too well! For internal searches, the general rule of thumb is that we need to have someplace to send users when they click on a search result. This is why content that appears exclusively in popups rather than on site pages is not indexed - users cannot be directed to a popup, so that content isn’t “viewable” on a site page.
Content that appears in Calendar, Posts or Athletics elements placed on site pages will be included in search results.
The exact content that is indexed by search (and displayed in search results) is determined by what is shown on site pages according to element settings.
For example, a Calendar element whose “Event Settings” options are set to display Event Times, Event Locations and Event Notes:
...will include those pieces of information in site search results.
Note that events shown in this element are set to open in a page, rather than a popup!
Content shown in Post elements and Athletic elements are handled the same way.
Post elements can display content from multiple boards. A board’s posts must be displayed in a post element on a site page somewhere in order for those posts to be indexed and included in site searches.
Posts elements that are "Expired" are not viewable on site pages, and are not included in site search results.
Content shown in News elements is only indexed in site search while it’s displayed on site pages. This is distinct from Posts content: in Posts, all of the posts from a given board are always indexed, as long as that board is set to display on a site page somewhere - the actual posts themselves do not have to be visible at any given moment in time! In News, only the news content that’s currently showing on a site page will appear in search results.