As of January, 2012, this site is no longer being updated, due to work and health issues
Guide to Search Tools
Some searches just fail -- there are no pages or records which match
the words and the commands in the query. To help your site visitors
and customers in this case, make sure you provide context and advice.
Remember, on the Web, they can often just bail out, and head straight
to your competitor!
No-Matches Page Layout
Site Context and Navigation
Instead of a bare page saying that the search failed, show the standard
site layout, including background colors, logos, text and link colors,
and navigation links.
If you have a site map or Yahoo-style directory for your site, include
it in the no-matches page -- otherwise you may want a statement of
the site scope. That provides a positive way to help people understand
what is available, and browse if they choose.
Search Again Field
Make sure there is a Search field, so people can try a different
search. Don't make them click a link or otherwise take an extra step
to search again.
Include some text that explains why the search might have failed,
and what people can do next. This list is carefully worded to be positive
and helpful, rather than blaming the user for the search failure.
The search for [insert search terms here] found no matches
on this site.
If you did not type a word in the Search box, you can do so now.
This search engine covers this site only -- if you want to search
the entire Web, use AltaVista, Google, HotBot or one of the other
public search engines.
If a word is misspelled, correct your spelling and search again.
You may need to use a synonym, such as "red" instead of "crimson".
If you have used uppercase letters, try using all lowercase.
If your search required certain terms (using + or a phrase in
quote marks) or excluded terms (using -), there may be no page which
matches exactly. Try doing a simpler search.