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Search Customizations

Search customizations are a critical part of the App Search platform. It consists of a trifecta of tools that can be used to effectively transform, alter, or fine-tune the algorithmic relevance and result output for one, many, or all queries issued against an Engine.

Search customizations are applied using:

This guide focuses on Dashboard interactions. The Search API Reference covers the API case.

Curations

A Curation can allow you to promote or hide search results. For example, if your users are searching for kettle, you could promote a specific kettle. Or, you could hide a kettle - maybe it is out-of-stock or having issues - to prevent people from seeing it.

Promoted results will always be returned in the API response by the order in which it was ranked. To promote a result, simply drag a result up in the Promoted drop area. Promoted results will be returned in the API response with a score of exactly 1.0, as relevance scoring algorithms do not apply in the case of a promoted result.

Curations - Promoting a result for sedan
Promoting a result

To hide a result, select any result and click the eye icon. Results will be hidden only for this query. They will be visible for any other query unless hidden.

Curation changes are live and propagated once saved.
No re-indexing is required! The changes are reflected immediately.

Relevance Tuning

In contrast with Curations, Relevance Tuning is a query customization that maps to all queries issued by your search experience's end user unless some of the weights and boosts configurations are overridden at query time.

Weights

Weights function at the field level, and represents the relative importance of a field in the algorithmic formula. The higher the weight factor, the more influence a field's value will hold in the overall relevance model for all queries issued.

For instance, make should likely takes precedence over color in our car rental database example. Relative weights value vary greatly from a use case to another, and your application and data may call for something dramatically different, but since weights are relative, you will be able to properly stack fields against each other.

Weights - Increasing the influence of the make field for the overall relevance model
Adjusting Weights

It is good practice to test out a few queries using the Preview panel on the right to validate your relevance assumptions. An adjustment that may be very positive for a given query may yield mixed results for another one. Weights is a powerful tool, therefore working in small increments is advised.

Boosts

Boosts are applied based on a particular condition for any given query. Boosts can either be value-based, function-based (for numerical types) and proximity-based (for all types but text).

Boosts are useful for consistently influencing relevance based on predefined rules. For example, we may want to surface more expensive rentals at the top of our result set for generic search queries. A functional boost is an effective way to use daily_rate as a way to influence the result scoring process and therefore push more expensive results up, while leaving it to the full-text relevance to set the base score for all documents matching the user query.

Boosts - Applying an additive functional logarithmic boost to daily_rate
Applying boosts

For more information about Relevance Tuning at query time, review the Search guide's Weights and Boosts section.

Relevance Tuning changes are live and propagated once saved.
No re-indexing is required, and changes are reflected immediately.

Synonyms

Synonyms are a simple and effective way to capture and properly match on your user's intent without having to alter or modify the data indexed. Synonyms are conceptually straightforward: by creating a synonym set, you create an equivalence relationship between the terms that it contains, each term effectively inheriting the other items' relevance properties for full-text search.

For example, you may want to create a synonym set for terms like automobile, car and vehicle to properly capture a user's intent and deliver as much value and relevance.

Synonyms - Multiple synonym sets created for rent-a-car
Creating Synonym Sets

It is worth noting that one should not consider creating synonym sets for variations on a word, as App Search already handles those permutations with a robust stemming algorithm. For instance, avoid synonyms such as change, changed and changing.

Synonyms can also be set and managed via the Synonyms API.

Synonym sets are live and propagated once saved.
No re-indexing is required, and changes are reflected immediately.

What's Next?

The Dashboard is a slick and powerful tool. Once you have done some tuning, you might want to explore Analytics and Clickthrough to better understand how to generate useful insights about your users' activity. If you would like to use the API to provide these features, perhaps start with Synonyms.


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