Home Services Engine: Local Listings, Global Power
Home Services Engine manages a massive, Gossamer Links-powered database of over 800,000 home service listings which allows its users to find the type of business they’re looking for in their neighborhood.
Delivering search results relevant to a user’s location quickly when you’re dealing with 7 gigabytes worth of listings from across the United States is no easy task, but Home Services Engine manages to return local businesses quickly and efficiently every time. Here’s how they do it, and how Gossamer Threads helped.
Everything about Home Services Engine is designed to return local business results – there’s no point in hiring a roofing contractor if he has to cross two state lines to get to your house. GT developed a search bar on HSE’s home page which allows users to search its database by keyword and location, as well as refine that search by state or zip code on the fly.
Localization doesn’t stop at the home page. If users don’t find the results they’re looking for in the location or zip code they’re searching for, GT’s developers have modified GLinks to let users expand their search radially, adding a set amount of miles. A count of each search’s size is prerendered, giving users the choice to scan through as few or as many results as they want.
HSE’s customized search results page also displays the most relevant search results before going on to build and display a cross-indexed list of sub categories, organised by business and location subcategories. This gives users a near-instantaneous look at the top results without sacrificing search refinement or lateral searching possibilities.
Local flexibility isn’t just for HSE’s users. Business owners who are adding their listings to the database can use an integrated Google Maps AJAX application to pinpoint the exact location of their business.
With search queries being passed using such refined location parameters, Home Service Engine’s new search engine ran extremely slowly under a standard MySQL search server. Gossamer Threads found the ideal solution in Solr, an open source enterprise search server based on the
Lucene search library.
- Solr is capable of handling especially large database queries with optimal speed, a great match for Home Service engine’s huge database and Gossamer Threads’ customized results pages.
- Solr offers options for flexible “like” search results rather than strict “is” results, a great asset when users are doing general searches like “home repair” or “electrical”.
- Solr can be specially configured to handle sort-by-proximity requests, making it ideal for all of the search-by-location options HSE offers its users.
Hosting 800,000 Businesses – and Growing
With its enterprise-level database and complex search operations, Home Service Engine needed a robust hosting configuration and Gossamer Threads was happy to deliver one of its tailor-made clustered hosting solutions.
Contact us to see how we can help you with your hosting needs.