A man wearing a blue work shirt is looking at a tablet while standing among a row of products, possibly in an electrical store or warehouse.

There is no single perfect search engine. This is something that I regularly tell our Insite clients. Getting your onsite search to provide the best results for each and every search query is an impossible task. That being said, Insite Software is using ElasticSearch to power its onsite search engine. The ElasticSearch offers great tools to constantly improve the results presented to your website users.

Optimizing a search algorithm is honestly more of an art than a science. Today’s article looks at the most important out-of-the-box Insite search functionalities to improve search results for top searched terms and expressions used on your website.

Here are the top 3 functionalities that Absolunet recommends for improving your eCommerce website search.

1. Redirects

Sometimes a search results page is not the best way to present products to a customer. If someone searches for “sofa pillows” they might not want to wade through “couches”. A sub category page (that shows only sofa pillows) might be a better option for website users that perform a very generic search. Creating a search redirection only takes a couple of clicks and can make a big difference to how your customers discover your products.

After optimizing the search algorithm, you might still find that some of your top search queries provide poor results, in this case you should consider creating a new content page in your CMS and making a new search redirection.

In all cases, don’t forget to add the Insite search query parameter “?criteria=keyword” at the end of the url you redirect to when you create the redirection. The search terms will continue to appear in Google Analytics reports and you will be able to know if the redirection had a positive impact on website users.

2. Product boosting

If you have never used Product boosting before, visit Insite’s Support website (sign in required) to learn how to configure Product boosting. 

Some people tend to use Product boosting to get around a poorly configured search algorithm or to avoid having to fully enrich their product information. 

This is not an approach we recommend. Here’s an example of how to properly use this out-of-the box functionality:

Most B2B distributors and manufacturers using Insite Software have a wide product catalog that contains lots of very similar products – old and new. Similar products will be considered equivalent according to the search engine. So the “Best Match” outcome rarely presents the newer models first. This is where the product boosting comes in handy, providing better control over the search results.

Once you have increased the product search boost values for newer models, validate that your top search queries still return the expected search results. Product boosting helps you show the customer the most relevant product. 

3. Synonyms

Using synonyms is an easy way to influence search results. Synonyms ensure that website visitors using everyday language will get the same results as those using technical language. 

Insite Software version 4.5.0 was released in early June 2019 and included several search improvements. Click here to read InsiteCommerce 4.5.0 official press release. One of the main improvements is the support of multi-word synonyms. Previously only single word synonyms were supported. This makes the functionality even more powerful.

The Synonym functionality can also be used with competitors’ product codes. Create a synonym record where the keyword is your ERP number (SKU). Assign a corresponding competitors’ code as a synonym. This will make your onsite search engine return the exact product when a website visitor searches for that competitor code. You can even perform mass export/import with synonyms in the Admin Console. So even if you have an extensive list, it will be easy to setup and maintain.

What next?

  1. If you are an existing Absolunet client on Insite and would like help optimizing your onsite search,  ask your Product Owner to set up a call with an eCommerce expert.  

  2. If you are looking into Insite Software’s eCommerce platform and want to talk about implementation, integration and how to leverage Insite’s features, contact the sales team.
  3. If you’d like to take onsite search optimization further but need a roadmap, talk with our consulting services.

Absolunet is an Insite Certified Platinum Partner.  

Author Patrick Ouellette is one of Absolunet’s eCommerce Product Owners. He has conducted several Insite implementations for enterprise-level brands and distributors across North America.

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