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anathanson
Starting Member

31 Posts

Posted - June 17 2008 :  16:51:41  Show Profile  Visit anathanson's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Is there any kind of relevance score that is generated by the search function? Sorting results by price or alphabetical by name doesn't really help. I'm finding that relevant results are pushed too far down on the search results page when it default sorts by name or price.

For example, if someone searches for "timer" on our site, it's picking up all products with "timer" in their name/keyword/description fields and displaying alpha by name. No priority given to relevance.

For speed/convenience, I only have the simple search box enabled and we're not using the advanced search form. We've found that most people just enter a term in the search box and don't understand how or bother to use advanced searching.

Any advice would be appreciated.

Alex

BTW: http://store.rainbird.com if you're interested in checking out the site.

devshb
Senior Member

United Kingdom
1898 Posts

Posted - June 18 2008 :  04:11:04  Show Profile  Visit devshb's Homepage  Reply with Quote
I personally think you did the right thing by not using the advanced search; using the search mini-form, and having category/related links in the right places would usually be much better for customers and supercedes the need for an advanced search in most cases.

The search functions don't have a scoring aspect in vpasp like a search engine would, and it'd be incredibly difficult to create one and probably slow things down quite a lot.

What you might find useful though are some aspects of some of our addons, because it's the "this also found something else..." kind of links that help a lot when people do basic searches and then see various other options after they've done the search that help customers find exactly what they want intuitively.

Relevant addons are:
BYZ116 - Enhanced Paging/Searching:
http://www.bigyellowzone.com/shopexd.asp?id=159
In particular the fact that when you do a search it'll show you links for any "hit" categories as well as the list of "hit" products. It also has filtering in it which you can use to refine things, which is useful/nice.

BYZ119 - Keywords Tools:
http://www.bigyellowzone.com/shopexd.asp?id=150
This'll help you enhance your keywords so that you have category-level keywords (which work their way up the branches so you get the full set of keywords in the "tree" in the relevant categories), and those category keywords can then be automatically brought down to product level. This'll give you much better hits when people search on a keyword and also give you the ability to show better "related categories to your search" on BYZ116.

BYZ107 - Keywords Template Fields:
http://www.bigyellowzone.com/shopexd.asp?id=123
This lets you show the list of keywords of a product on a product detail page (or product summary page), with each keyword a clickable link which searches on that keyword.

BYZ107 (linked keywords display) is included within BYZ119 (keyword tools) automatically as an optional part of the installation process, so if you bought BYZ119 you wouldn't need to buy BYZ107.

Generally those 3 modules work very well together, with each one creating benefits for the others.

With all of these things, if your categories/products/prodcategories data isn't quite right then the search/display also gets hindered, sometimes significantly. For that, see:

BYZ055 Category/ProdCategory Fixing Utility:
http://www.bigyellowzone.com/shopexd.asp?id=74

BYZ014 Admin Category Tree:
http://www.bigyellowzone.com/shopexd.asp?id=31

BYZ109 Category Bundle (BYZ014 and BYZ055 bundled together) :
http://www.bigyellowzone.com/shopexd.asp?id=124

With the right data/addons/configuration the navigation can be completely transformed while still keeping the overall cart fairly generic.

From my point of view, coding up an addon (or an enhancement to an existing addon) to have scoring would be a fun thing to do, but probably not practical as there'd be so few merchants that might want it; usually the other aspects as described above would do what's needed. But, if lots of people read this and say "no, you're wrong; I'd like scoring too" then we'd review that.

Simon Barnaby
Developer
[email protected]
www.BigYellowZone.com
Web Design, Online Marketing and VPASP addons

Edited by - devshb on June 18 2008 04:35:25
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carfin
VP-ASP Expert

United Kingdom
948 Posts

Posted - June 18 2008 :  06:19:50  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Hi Alex,

I totally agree with you on the simple search comment. Unless there are tens of thousands of products in your store I feel that you are best with the mini search form. You're right, potential customers don't have the patience or the confidence to go through advanced search options. In my experience if a search returns pages and pages of results, the customer will not scroll through more than 3 or 4 pages before refining their search, so it is very important to look at your keywords and short descriptions to include defining words for your products. Think like your potential customers. You know all your products inside out but they don't. Take our site for example. A customer wants to find a battery for their watch - they type in battery to the search form. This will display over a hundred products. They then type in watch battery to the form which will now display all our watch batteries. Our industry doesn't actually call the product a 'watch battery' (we know them as silver oxide coin batteries) but I have had to use this defining term in our products' keywords and short descriptions to make them more user friendly. I also feel that it is better to keep the short descriptions as short as possible so the customer can see more products with less scrolling. If they're interested in seeing more details, they'll click the links.
By the way, your site is good, and I tried your 'timer' search and at the moment it's fine, because it only returned 2 pages. If it was 10 pages that might be a problem.
BYZ add-ons for enhanced paging/searching and keywords sound like a great idea if you have thousands of similar types of product. As for the search scoring software, I don't think small to medium size merchants would be that interested. Anyway those are my thoughts on searches.

Regards,

Carrol
www.deanston-electrical.co.uk
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saki
VP-ASP New User

82 Posts

Posted - June 19 2008 :  10:02:03  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I have several sites with several thousand products. Search ALONE sometimes works well for some people if the search term is unique enough. BUT if a customer wants to navigate through the site and limit that navigation by say , size, or color, or manufacturer or all three, thats where VPASP and the addons fall short.

While it's tru that search is bewildering to many the common practice of having TERMS or CRITERIA selected in say the left menu bar that allow for a navigation drill down are getting very common. bestbuy.com is an eexample. That type of navigation is almost here in BYZ's filters but not yet made into a useful side menu system like is on bestbuy.
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devshb
Senior Member

United Kingdom
1898 Posts

Posted - June 19 2008 :  11:23:29  Show Profile  Visit devshb's Homepage  Reply with Quote
ah; if you had our paging addon, what you'd do would be to create filter config options for manufacturer/size/color or whatever, and then people could refine their searches through that; similar to normal vpasp filtering, but with our one you can get it to source the data from where you like to provide poplists (eg a supplier poplist)

The pending new version of the addon which'll have the "display search mini-form" function will then also let you have a side-panel where people can do similar searches direct.

Simon Barnaby
Developer
[email protected]
www.BigYellowZone.com
Web Design, Online Marketing and VPASP addons

Edited by - devshb on June 19 2008 11:24:47
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saki
VP-ASP New User

82 Posts

Posted - June 19 2008 :  11:27:36  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
AH, yes I can see that part. But I use the flyout navigation for categories and would like to select a manufacturer and then a size and have that persisit as I go through using the category navigation. Do you see?
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