Product search: you can’t live without it. At least, that’s until you start using cumbersome and awkward solutions that don’t deliver the right results. Choosing the right product search for your Magento store means finding an integration that allows for both easy customization and that delivers the results consumers are looking for. Magento’s default product search is a good start, but it’s certainly not the product querying mastermind you could be using.
Bringing in the right solutions means being able to sell more and sell better. After all, visitors that use product search are 200% more likely to make a purchase than those who don’t. Maximizing revenue from this group is key to securing a potentially loyal group of return customers. These customers will then see you as an authority in the space. You just need to make sure their searches return the results they want.
Typically, consumers expect results that are on-par, if not above, those of Google. Google is particularly good at returning relevant results even when users search using muddled or imprecise queries. Magento’s default search isn’t nearly as powerful. While It works well for smaller catalogs – those with a few products and a handful of attributes – it falls down as store size and complexity grows. Losing the ability to deliver relevant results will almost immediately mean a loss of revenue and push you further from the store growth you’re looking for.
Here, we’re going to take a look at some of the ways you can use to get your product search back on track with Nexcess. We believe that product search shouldn’t be complicated or an expensive addition, and to that end, we’ve put together a couple of changes you can make yourself in little to no time.
Choose Search Attributes Wisely
You’re given the ability to add associated attributes when creating Magento products. These can be as simple as a product name, color or size, or as complex as long descriptions. Attributes are included as a way to narrow down relevant results when a user searches for products,. For product colors and sizes, this works incredibly well, allowing consumers access to faceted search features whereby they can filter large result sets down to a handful of relevant ones. However, attributes need to be selected carefully. When they aren’t, irrelevant products quickly start to seep into otherwise relevant results.
Take attributes that include large amounts of text. The longer the text the most likely it is that longtail phrases are included. For example, let’s say you’re searching for a pair of headphones with the phrase “headphones with long extension cable” on an electronics store. Yes, the results will likely include relevant results. However, the inclusion of the phrase “extension cord” may lead to electric extension cords appearing in results as well.
Accuracy and speed can be improved by limiting search to the most important attributes; those that contain the most relevant keywords. Attributes can be removed from search results in the Product Attributes page of the Stores menu.
Take Control of Search With Magento Search Terms
Store owners are able to control what happens when specific search terms are entered in the Magento search box. For example, it’s possible to direct users to a custom page on the store by adding and configuring a search term. This might be a content page, a category page, or a product page.
A fashion store owner might note that many shoppers search for “t-shirt”, and decide to build a dedicated landing page with a custom product selection, copy, and images. When a shopper enters the query, they’re directed to the custom page instead of the default search results. The search terms functionality gives store owners precise control over the search experience.
Search terms are also useful for handling synonyms and misspellings because each search term can be associated with a set of synonyms. If you notice that shoppers frequently misspell a product name, you can use search terms to ensure they find what they’re looking for.
You can configure custom search terms under Marketing -> SEO & Search -> Search Terms in the Admin sidebar.
Use ElasticSearch Instead
Since the release of Magento 2.3, all versions of Magento support ElasticSearch, an enterprise-grade search engine that is faster and more accurate than Magento’s built-in MySQL-based search. We previously compared Elasticsearch with other Magento product search alternatives and found that not only is it faster, but it also offers your development team more flexibility.
ElasticSearch provides a wide array of features that enhance the Magento search experience, including support for stop words and synonyms, fast indexing that doesn’t impact search or store performance, support for multiple languages, and more advanced product search options. ElasticSearch is easy to integrate with Magento; after a simple initial configuration, ElasticSearch will begin returning improved search results immediately.
At Nexcess, our ElasticSearch cloud hosting makes it even easier to deploy a scalable ElasticSearch instance in seconds. ElasticSearch is fully supported on our Magento cloud hosting plans, and we’re happy to help clients to integrate their ElasticSearch instance with Magento.