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Search Engine Not Effective


#1

Hi guys,

We are getting feedback from our customers that our search feature is “broken”. Users claim that they are unable to locate the products they need via our search box. This is of course a problem because apparently most users go straight to the search box to begin looking for products on our site…

Since we submitted “port” in our search- it did not display HD-23114 (because “port” is not used in its description).

  • A search for “5 port hdmi switch”:
    Shows one 5-Port HDMI Switch AND one 3-Port HDMI Switch. It DOES NOT list the other 5-Port HDMI Switch ( See HDMI Switches - ILC#: HD-23720)

This behavior coupled with the lack of filters on the search pages is going to cost us $$. What can we do or say to get this feature improved? Do we have to go in and insert keywords by hand in PAM in order for our search feature to work properly? Is there any word on the patch for the filters?

Thanks in advance!


#2

Hi Derek,

Looking at your examples, you’re searching for the word ‘port’ and you’re expecting it to match items that do not contain the word ‘port’. That doesn’t seem reasonable to me. If you want your search to be broader, you should be less specific in your keywords OR improve your item data to match your expectations.

Regards,
Donogh


#3

Hi Derek,

We experienced similar issues and took a punt on integrating SLI Site Search with our store. Our search results are much better with the 3rd party integration and are much more in-line with what you and your customers are likely expecting. There’s far too many features to list them all but you can do things like;

Manage and display banners linked to search terms.
Create keyword aliases to link similar words or terms i.e. the term ‘dog house’ isn’t found in our descriptions and therefore would normally yield no results. This term can be can linked (once) to the term ‘dog kennel’ or ‘kennel’ which is found in our product name and descriptions. Users searching for ‘dog house’ will then see the same result set that searching for ‘dog kennels’ would normally display. - this only needs to be configured once and is far more manageable than trying to configure this on individual products via keywords.
SEO benefits as some unique indexes are created around specific search results.

That being said, it does also have a downside in that it can be costly and does create a bit of a disconnect between your site and your search data since results are hosted on an SLI managed sub-domain (your site design is mimicked). Aside from syncing issues and delays, updating designs or making product listing changes can be a bit challenging since they also need to be replicated by SLI.

If there were a choice we’d gladly use the integrated search but in its current state we’d be leaving too much money on the table. There have been a few other posts regarding search but unfortunately there doesn’t appear to be a lot of interest in tweaking the design or options which is a bit of a shame.

cheers.
Andy.


#4

Unfortunately, not all of my customers share the same opinion. I am not able to educate my customers on how to modify their search terms so that they find what they are looking for… They simply input what terms they feel best describe what they need. I feel that searching for “4 hdmi splitter” makes no sense- where as “4-port hdmi splitter” makes sense. Other people will type “4 port hdmi splitter”.

Search result matches for “4-port hdmi splitter”:
12 results

Search result matches for “4 port hdmi splitter”:
1 result

In this example, a hyphen (-) is drastically changing what we see in our search results. Again, regardless of our opinion, people’s search behavior will vary person-to-person…

Another issue is that there is no “Did you mean?..” feature in the event that a customer misspells their search. There are some figures regarding how many people cannot spell “Budweiser” (40% of Americans), so if I sold Budweiser products on our site, 40% of our customers would most likely not find these products.

Again, regardless of our opinions, people are having a hard time locating products on our site. I can’t help but to use Google as a good example of how a search should work. You can misspell terms all day long, and still find what you are looking for. Google will show you results (even if you search for a keyword that is not relevant. I know NitroSell is not Google, and I understand resources are limited… All I am asking is that you guys look into improving the search feature so that people can find things on our websites.


#5

In the case of the hyphenated search term, I imagine it’s being treated as a ‘minus’ operator. A workaround would maybe be stripping minuses from search terms before the form submits.

“Sounds like” search would definitely be a possibility. In general, though, I’d be more inclined to replace our current database search with a more comprehensive search engine. We can add it as a roadmap suggestion.

In the meantime, perhaps Google Site Search would get you closer to what you need: https://www.google.com/work/search/products/gss.html


#6

@donogh - Thank you for you consideration! I think this would be a great upgrade for the framework… Until we see an upgrade, I suppose we may implement a 3rd party solution. Thanks!

@andy - I didn’t see your previous post… Thank you for providing me with suggestions. I will look into that search engine. I admit, the mimicked domain is a problem. We already have people asking us “when were you bought out (by NitroSell)” due to the ‘secureX.nitrosell.com’ domain that handles our checkout. So the alternate domain thing would just inflate an already HUGE problem. None the less, I will check it out. I have had great results with Google Site Search in the past, so I’m guessing that is the road will will take. Thanks again guys!


#7

@derek1 Did you end up trying google search? We were thinking of trying something similar. Thanks!


#8

Did anyone try any of these solutions? Thanks!


#9

Hi, sorry for the delayed response… I ended up building a PHP search engine for us, and then used Ajax to return results from our local RMS database. I’d be happy to share what I’ve got if you are still looking for an upgrade! :slight_smile:


#10

Implementing the upgrade that we have would require a person familiar with PHP programming and SQL databases (so that the plugin could be tailored for your environment). If you have someone capable, I could send you the source code for the search engine.