City of Wilson: Powering the Search for a Better Municipal Government Website Experience


Elastic Site Search (formerly Swiftype Site Search) allows the City of Wilson to proactively solve citizen’s problems by monitoring insights in the dashboard.


Not only can citizens now find the info faster, but the City of Wilson’s IT Operations team can also organize content more quickly as they provide a better user experience.


With Elastic Site Search, the City of Wilson is providing a better website search allowing everyone to find civic information quicker while enabling the website to handle more traffic with confidence.

Company Overview

The City of Wilson is situated in the heart of eastern North Carolina and prides itself on innovation and service excellence as it serves its 50,000 citizens.

City of Wilson’s Journey with Elastic


During an overhaul of City of Wilson’s website, the IT Operations team decided to abandon their existing and unreliable search tool. As they sought a replacement, Wilson’s IT Ops team knew they wanted website search to benefit both citizens of Wilson, and the city’s internal departments, all while enabling their team to be more innovative and service-oriented. They new that a better website search would help everyone to find the right information and in the quicker fashion.


As they looked for the right search alternative, the IT Ops team found that Elastic Site Search Service became the perfect choice as they needed real-time indexing, real-time analytics on the searches being conducted, and the ability to innovate and iterate quickly in order to offer better service for citizens and city employees.


Since implementing Elastic Site Search, the City of Wilson has seen an overall increase in traffic across the entire website. But beyond just the raw increase in usage, the team is also experiencing increased confidence that they are quickly providing citizens and employees with the most relevant results, guiding citizens and employees to what they need.

"When [visitors] need to find something very quickly, they can now just search for it," said Brandon Evans, Technical Services Representative with City of Wilson. "We've gotten great feedback both internally and from citizens externally."

Beyond the advantages of the actual search functionalities, Elastic Site Search Service's real-time analytics gives the City of Wilson early insights into potential site and search issues as well as helps them identify what's important to citizens. For example, as Hurricane Matthew approached in 2016, the city saw increased searches — in real time — for flood prevention materials, roadway hazards, and other information on city services.

"Not only did we keep our site up-to-date, as the storm began to unfold we saw people searching about street closures. Seeing the search data let the city directly respond to what was going on. On the fly, [the city] built an app to show which streets were flooded." says Will Aycock, General Manager responsible for all Information Technology operations.