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the importance of improving magento commerce’s Search
 
Vann
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A good search engine on a product’s support site is vital to people’s ability to find solutions to their problems, keeps redundant forum traffic down, and can reduce workloads for staff and users who otherwise spend time asking and answering the same questions when search fails or frustrates them. Searching a product’s support site is often the first and last method of “support” that many users have or are willing to make, and is therefore all the more important to encourage product adoption.

Here are a few improvement ideas:

1. Don’t use Google Search; use a search that accesses your database backend. The frustration of using Google Search is obvious when searching for “Paypal IPN”, for example.  Google Search indexes hundreds of (expired) pages that contain the “Latest Blog Post” block, each with links to a single entry: “Video: Paypal Website Payment Standard”. A builtin CMS search would search database content, not generated pages, and produce a far more concise listing of matching results.  Using Google Search in place of a homegrown search shifts the burden of finding results to the user; I find it’s often faster to browse the website than to search through hundreds of duplicate Google Search hits for a unique match that might prove relevant.

2. Moreoever, search often returns multiple matches that link to the same exact page. I suggest testing the URLs of matching results for uniqueness against each other. (for an example of this, again see http://www.magentocommerce.com/search/results/?q=paypal+ipn , multiple search results link to this page: http://www.magentocommerce.com/blog/comments/paypal-website-payment-standard-ipn )

3. The post date of content isn’t returned. This should at least be displayed with the match. Even better would be to allow sorting by date. Whenever a new feature’s released, I find myself searching for instructions. I’d like to sort matching results by “newest”, and not sort through tens of old and irrelevant search results of forums posts from 2007 of users, say, requesting the feature. I find myself performing this tedious task often.

4. Obviously, an advanced search that allows logical constructors, quotes, and category restricted (knowledge base, wiki, etc) searches would be awesome.

5. Allow users to “rate” matches. Then return highly rated matches first. Use the collective’s knowledge to help people help each other.

Thanks for a great product, fellahs. But please don’t let a poor search function slow down adoption of such a promising piece of software.

-Vann

 
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RoyRubin
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Vann - thanks for the comments. Search is important (in fact, critical) and I am glad to read through your comments. A couple of notes:

1. Don’t use Google Search; use a search that accesses your database backend. The frustration of using Google Search is obvious when searching for “Paypal IPN”, for example.  Google Search indexes hundreds of (expired) pages that contain the “Latest Blog Post” block, each with links to a single entry: “Video: Paypal Website Payment Standard”. A builtin CMS search would search database content, not generated pages, and produce a far more concise listing of matching results.  Using Google Search in place of a homegrown search shifts the burden of finding results to the user; I find it’s often faster to browse the website than to search through hundreds of duplicate Google Search hits for a unique match that might prove relevant.

Google Search is much more powerful than any other solution we’ve tried out of the box. You are correct in mentioning that Google indexes the entire page and not just the main content area which is the core of the problem (unfortunately, there is no way to exclude a portion of the page from being indexed).

A workaround for now would be to exclude certain phrases that distort the results (through the minus - switch).

2. Moreoever, search often returns multiple matches that link to the same exact page. I suggest testing the URLs of matching results for uniqueness against each other. (for an example of this, again see http://www.magentocommerce.com/search/results/?q=paypal+ipn , multiple search results link to this page: http://www.magentocommerce.com/blog/comments/paypal-website-payment-standard-ipn )

You are correct. We will resolve this.

3. The post date of content isn’t returned. This should at least be displayed with the match. Even better would be to allow sorting by date. Whenever a new feature’s released, I find myself searching for instructions. I’d like to sort matching results by “newest”, and not sort through tens of old and irrelevant search results of forums posts from 2007 of users, say, requesting the feature. I find myself performing this tedious task often.

We’ll investigate further and see if we can better control the sorting and perhaps give user control to do so.

4. Obviously, an advanced search that allows logical constructors, quotes, and category restricted (knowledge base, wiki, etc) searches would be awesome.

That’s built into the search already. You can use any operator that Google supports.

 
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Vann
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Thanks for the quick feedback.

Regarding #1, perhaps you could have Google Search index a version of your website that doesn’t display sideblocks, perhaps either by using the Google Sitemap functionality, or checking the referrer URL.

-Vann

 
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Ross
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Good suggestions!  Also, great to see Varien are committed to a good user experience on the website.  I particularly like the idea of not letting Google index the side blocks.

Perhaps you could make use of the new “Canonical URL” header that Google supports to help prevent duplicate results.

Keep up the good work

 
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skippybosco
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Ross,

You can find the Magento extension for Canonical URLs here

 
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Ross
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skippybosco - 12 March 2009 10:02 PM

Ross,

You can find the Magento extension for Canonical URLs here

Yes thanks, however I was talking about the use of canonical URLs on the magentocommerce.com website in order to improve the Google site search that it uses.

 
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priyapriya
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Hi,

I have selected INR as my currency. When I look at teh admin pnel and front end on Linux , the Currency symbol displayed is “Rs” - which is correct. But when i see the same site on Windows it shows “Rp” . I am using Magento version 1.3.1 and Firefox browser. Any help would be highly appreciated.

Thanks,

 
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Ross
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@priyapriya - I think you should start a separate forum topic for your question (sorry, don’t have and answer for you).

@RoyRubin - see below

RoyRubin - 05 February 2008 12:39 PM

Google Search is much more powerful than any other solution we’ve tried out of the box. You are correct in mentioning that Google indexes the entire page and not just the main content area which is the core of the problem (unfortunately, there is no way to exclude a portion of the page from being indexed).

(emphasis added)

Google appliance does support excluding parts of page content from indexing with the googleon/googleoff tags. 
Find out more in the docs here:
http://code.google.com/apis/searchappliance/documentation/46/admin_crawl/Preparing.html#pagepart

 
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Adjustware
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Currently it is much more convenient to search smth with google.com + site filter rather than use magento search.

 
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Ross
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Adjustware - 04 June 2009 12:48 AM

Currently it is much more convenient to search smth with google.com + site filter rather than use magento search.

The site search on magentocommerce.com is Google!

 
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Adjustware
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Hey Ross,
I perfectly understand that magento use google search, but search results from google.com + site filter and from magento differs wink
Have you got the point ?

 
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cinemaduro
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I liked how MagentoCommerce.com used to have different tabs in the SERPs where one could sort the results by different sections of the site, ie results only from Magento Connect, or only from the the Forum. Now, everything is lumped together and, 9 times out of 10, less relevant to what I’m searching for, even though the info is indexed “better”.

I know you can manually do this if you know the right search code to put in there, but unless you know to type “promotions site:magentocommerce.com/magento-connect” off the top of your head when you want to search for a promotions plugin on magento connect, then you’re left to deal with sorting through multiple pages of stuff you don’t want. (and even then, the results from Google are iffy) Before you could just type “promotions” then click on the magento connect tab to sort. Very convenient, nothing to remember.

You probably shouldn’t have to try to find a forum post just to learn how to search the magentocommerce.com website for forum posts smile

Just my two cents.

 
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Php4u
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You can try to use Zend Search Lucene for search

 
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Mirasvit
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Hi Vann

Take a look this search extension which enables the Sphinx-powered search with high-performance and more relevant search results.

Advanced Sphinx Search Pro

Image Attachments
sphinx_compare_results.png
 
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