Time for AI: Query Rules – A Powerful Addendum to the Search Engine

Are you curious about how to promote specific products? The answer is simple: Query Rules.

Read on to learn how to influence the search query and make your customers happier with their buying experience than ever before. 

Wojciech Szumowski
Junior Solution Architect
Added 3 months ago | 5 min read

Introducing query rules 

Query rules are an expansion to our search engine. They create the possibility to influence the search query as well as the results, so that your customers are even more satisfied.  

Combining the search engine provided by Synerise as a tool and your business knowledge, you can now tailor our product to be even more accurate with its results. This is yet another way to shorten the customer’s path to purchase, increasing the user experience at the same time.  

Possibilities 

Our query rules are based on an 'if -> then' structure.  First, a condition must be defined. It is possible to take into account single words up to whole queries. We can define four possibilities to act upon:  

  • if the query is equal to some word or phrase 
  • if the query contains a word or phrase 
  • if the query starts with a word or phrase 
  • if the query ends with a word or phrase 

On top of this we can add multiple words or phrases under one condition, where the logical operator between the phrases is 'or'. So, for example, we could set up a rule such that: 

If the query contains the word "telephone" or the word "cellphone" or the phrase "cellular phone" then… 
… this is the perfect place to make a smooth transition to the next step of setting up a query rule, the consequence.

Here we define what we want to happen to the query or the results, given the condition. We have six actions to choose from: 

  • Replace Query 
  • Replace Word 
  • Remove Word 
  • Promote Item 
  • Hide Item 
  • Filter Query Results 

The first three actions modify the query. We can replace words, or whole phrases in the query, as well as remove a word from a query.  

The next three actions influence the results of the search query. Given some specific query we can promote selected items. When setting this option up we choose which position the promoted item will take on the list of returned products.  
On the other hand, there might be a situation where given a query we would like to remove an item from the results. To achieve this, we define the condition for the query and then choose "Hide Item" as an action and specify which item we would like to hide from the results.  

The last action allows us to filter the results of a query. We can choose a facet that we would like to filter the results down to, given the set-up condition. For a given condition we can specify multiple consequences, of different types. 

The closing thing to set up for a query rule is the schedule. One of the options is to set up the rule to be active immediately. When published the rule will affect the query results right away.  
The other option is to schedule a query rule. This comes in handy when you are aware of some seasonality in your sales.  

Or maybe you planned an upcoming sale and would like to promote items included in the promotion? If so, you can set the start and end dates and specify in which time zone.  

Why is it worth to use query rules? 

Now that you are aware of the possibilities offered by setting query rules, we can take a step back and consider why you would even want to use query rules. The answer is quite simple. Our search engine does a very good job when it comes to returning results for a given query, it can autocomplete words and it handles typos.  
However, this is all in general. There are extreme cases or seasonal factors, where your business knowledge can enhance the results presented to your customer. Instead of gathering this information from you and coding all the cases and exceptions into the search engine, we give you the possibility to define these rules and influence the way our product works so that it suits your needs.  

And no coding is required to do this, all the changes can be done through an interface in our Synerise platform.  

Let’s go through a couple of cases where query rules could solve potential problems: 

1. The problem stated earlier with synonyms to the word "smartphone". Your customers could be searching for "cellphone" or "phone". You can define a rule that replaces those words in the query with the word "smartphone".
 
2. When a brand appears in the search query you might want to filter the results to items only produced by that brand.
 
3. Promote a new product. When a new product is added it doesn’t have much "action" on its product page nor does it appear in transactions frequently, compared to items that are available for some time already. Say there is a new model of shoes available in your store. If you want to promote them you can set up a rule that places them on the first position in the result list, when the query contains the word "shoes".  

With all the options you can choose while setting up a query rule the possibilities are only limited by your business requirements and imagination.  

Tips and tricks 

The search engine offers analytics of the search queries. One of the metrics measured is the Average Click Position. This metric tells us which position is clicked the most, by considering the positions clicked and averaging them. This can be useful when promoting an item. You may take into consideration the Average Click Position when choosing where a product should be placed in the search results.  

Another aspect measured by our search analytics are popular queries with no results. This is a list of queries that customers are trying to search for but give no results. The number of times these queries are made are counted.  

The list is worth checking, at least the most popular entries. It might be the case that the queries are synonyms for your products that are not used to describe them in your product feed. They may serve as an inspiration for creating some query rules that replace words or phrases.  

Summing up 

Query rules offer you an easy way to enhance the search engine’s results. This feature is an easy way to combine your business knowledge or requirements with the search engine product offered by Synerise.  

Even though no coding is required to set up these rules, they can have a powerful impact on the results.  

For more technical information on query rules as a feature, as well as the requirements to enable the search product and query rules we invite you to check out our help documentation as well as the API documentation