Storefront search and predictive search can be modified to get more intuitive results with semantic understanding and synonyms, feature individual products, and adjust result types.
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Activating Semantic Search
Semantic Search lets your customers search for products in a way that is more intuitive to them. Semantic Search, one of Shopify's AI-powered storefront search features, goes beyond keyword matching and better understands your customer’s intent, returning more relevant search results.
The feature is currently available on storefront search for Plus merchants with English storefronts and fewer than 200,000 products.
Your store must use Shopify's native search results. If you are using search syntax or an app to generate search results, you won't see the output of semantic search.
How it works
Semantic Search builds on top of existing keyword-based search by introducing semantics to better understand what a customer is looking for. The feature uses both text and image data of your products to better understand whether they are relevant to a customer's search term.
For example, if a customer searches for christmas party shoes, Semantic Search can associate the search term to colors green or red for christmas, and pumps for party shoes.
The feature doesn't apply to predictive search.
- In the Shopify Search & Discovery app, click Settings.
- Scroll to the Search relevance section.
- Optional: To test the feature, click Try it out. A theme preview opens with Semantic Search activated.
- Click Turn on to activate Semantic Search.
Adjusting search result type
Your store's search functions can return different types of results, such as products, pages, and blog posts. To keep your search results as relevant as possible for your customers, you can specify which types of results you want your storefront search and predictive search to return. The following settings can be adjusted in the Settings section of your Shopify Search and Discovery app, but these settings can be overwritten by your published theme.
Search results: Choose what result types are requested for the search results page of your online store. The options that you can select are product, page and blog post results. By default, all result types are requested.
Predictive search results: Choose what result types are requested for the predictive search component of your online store. The options that you can select are product, page, blog post, collection and query results. By default, a request asks for query, product, collection and page results.
Out of-stock-products: Choose how to display results for unavailable products for both the search results page and predictive search. Out of stock products can be displayed, hidden or placed last in the returned results. The setting adjusts the behavior for both search and predictive search. By default, unavailable products are displayed after all other matching results.
Search result type settings apply when your online store theme does not specify the
type query parameter in requests to the storefront search or predictive search endpoints. If your theme sends a
type query parameter, then the result type setting is overwritten. Contact your theme's developer if the search settings changes aren't displayed in your online store.
Customizing product boosts
You can assign specific search terms to your products to help them display in search results. When a customer searches your store using the search terms that you have assigned to a product, the product ranks higher in the search results on your online store. For example, suppose that you sell coffee and have released a new decaf coffee variant. To help increase its visibility in your store, you can assign the search term "decaf coffee" to your new product for it to always display when a customer uses that search term in your store's search.
A product's position in search results is boosted only if the product is available for sale. Sold out products are listed at the end of search results so that customers can find and purchase currently available products.
Product boosts aren't applied when a search query contains search syntax.
Best practices for product boosts
Searching in Shopify is designed to return the most relevant search results. The results are adjusted based on changes to your products, collections, and customer activity. When you boost a product, it's listed above the search results that are usually returned for the related queries. You can use the following best practices for product boosts to ensure that you're building an effective customer experience:
- Boost a single product, or small number of products, for specific search terms. Boosting a large number of products might cause other relevant products to display lower in search results.
- It isn't necessary to boost common misspellings of search terms or both the singular and plural version of search terms. Shopify has built-in strategies to account for this when creating search results. Learn more about how storefront search in the online store works.
- Consider creating a synonym group instead of boosting search terms if you're trying to associate common customer search terms with your products. Synonyms won't boost products to the beginning of search results necessarily, but they're a useful strategy for improving the positioning of products in search results.
Create a product boost
Search terms can be multiple words. A maximum of 10 search terms can be added to a product boost.
- In the Shopify Search & Discovery app, click Search, then click Product boosts.
- Click Create product boost.
- Select the products that you want to promote in search results.
- For each search term that you want to add, type in the term and then click Add.
- Click Save.
Edit product boosts with metafields
You can use metafields to edit product boosts.
- In the Search and Discovery app, select multiple products from the Product boosts page.
- Click Bulk edit to open the Bulk Editor.
- Choose product boosts for each product, and then click Save.
You can also edit metafields from other apps, like Shopify Flow.
The changes that you make to the metafield "Search product boosts" are synced with the product boosts in the Search & Discovery app.
Although you give your products a specific name, some of your customers might be searching for that product using a different term. For example, you might sell bags called "slings", but some customers know them as "belt bags". To help those customers find the bags that they're searching for, you can create a synonym group for "belt bags" and "slings". Shopify treats these terms as exact matches for one another, which improves the relevancy of a customer's search result.
Each synonym can be a single word or up to 5 words. There is a maximum of 20 synonyms per synonym group, and a maximum of 1000 synonyms for the entire store.
Each synonym must be unique to your whole store, there can't be the same synonym in multiple synonym groups.
Best practices for synonyms
You can use the following best practices for synonyms to ensure that you're building an effective customer experience:
- Review your store's report on Top online store search results with no results to determine if you can create relevant synonyms for any of the search terms that return no results for customers.
- Synonyms in a group should be clear substitutes for one another. Avoid creating synonym groups with loosely related terms, like having both "men" and "boys" in the same group, as it might cause relevant results to display lower in search results.
- It isn't necessary to create synonyms for common misspellings of search terms. Shopify has built-in strategies to account for this when creating search results. Learn more about typo tolerance in storefront search.
- If a synonym group contains a compound word, consider adding its open, closed, or hyphenated versions. For example: "belt bag", "beltbag" and "belt-bag". Alternate spellings of compound words aren't considered in Shopify's default search behavior, but might be popular among your customers.
Create a synonym group
- In the Shopify Search & Discovery app, click Search.
- Click Synonyms, and then click Create synonym group.
- For each word or phrase, enter the tern, and then click Add.
- Enter a synonym group title.
- Click Save.
Synonym group titles are used by the app to help display your synonym groups. The title doesn't affect search results on the online store.
Below are some behaviors of synonyms to be aware of that affect search results.
Synonyms with multiple words
When a synonym has multiple words separated by a space, like "belt bag", it's used as a phrase search when returning synonoumous search results. A phrase search returns results where the words appear in the exact order of the synonym.
For example, if you have a synonym group with both sling and belt bag:
- Searching for "sling" will match products that contain the word "sling" and products that contain the phrase "belt bag".
- Searching for "belt bag" will match products that contain the words "belt" and "bag" (not necessarily in the same field or order) and products that contain the word "sling".
Conditions when synonyms aren't used
Synonyms aren't used for matches on product
Synonyms aren't used when a search query contains search syntax.