Synonyms make it possible to refine your customer's search by replacing commonly used keywords with terms that are similar in meaning. By doing this, shoppers are shown results for more relevant products. Using Synonyms effectively creates a better shopping experience for your customers by allowing them to focus less on the search terms they use and more on the products they are interested in.
There are two types of synonyms: Grouped and One way Synonyms
Synonyms always need to be re-indexed after making changes
Grouped synonyms treat all words in the group as equivalent so that when you search for any of the words in the group it will also find any of the other words in the group.
A clothing store is having a sale on "t-shirts", but they use a lot of different words in their product names besides "t-shirt", like "Yellow T Shirt", "Red Tee Shirt", and "Blue Short Sleeve". In order to make the most out of their featured sale, the store sets up synonym logic for the word "t-shirt" and lets SearchSpring know that the words "t shirt", "tee", "short sleeve", "v-neck", "v neck", and "crew cut" should have equal weight when searching.
One-Way synonyms find alternative words for a search query but the alternative terms are not synonyms of each other.
A search for “winter clothes” will also find “jackets”, “scarves”, “gloves”, and “sweaters”. However, you wouldn’t want jackets showing up when someone does a search for “gloves” so a grouped synonym would not work for this situation. One way synonyms are good for more generic words and finding products matching the more specific terms.
Synonyms are intended to offer control over very specific phrasing. Setting up synonyms using multiple words (eg: "warm jacket" and "fleece pullover") have some important caveats:
- The user's search has to include both words together
Example: Searching for "warm winter jacket" would not cause the synonym to take affect, while searching for "winter warm jacket" would.
- The product's data needs to include the words together to match
Example: A product with a searchable property value of "fleece zip pullover" would not be shown when searching for "warm jacket". Instead, the product would need to have a property value something like "zip fleece pullover".
Stemming & Synonyms
Normally, SearchSpring will automatically search for plural variations of words a shopper looks for -- called Stemming. Due to the specific scope of Synonyms behavior, stemming works slightly differently when a synonym is applied.
Synonym words only match on their own without doing any stemming.
Example: Searching for "shoe" when a synonym is set up for "boot" will look for products with:
- ✔ Original search word ("shoe")
- ✔ Stemmed search word ("shoes")
- ✔ Synonym ("boot")
- ✖ Not stemmed synonym ("boots")
Add a Synonym
New synonyms may be added by clicking on the Add Synonym button.
A window will pop up. In the "Synonyms" field, multiple words may be listed and separated with a comma. After entering the words, click the "Save changes" button in the bottom right corner.
To instead add a One-Way Synonym, click "One-Way Synonym" in the toggle at the top of the popup. Enter your starting search term for a One way Synonym (Searching For:) and a list of "Synonyms" (words that should be considered the same).
In order for a synonym to be processed, the Enable checkbox must be checked. This change automatically saves. If you want to disable a synonym, but not delete it, the change is as simple as unchecking this box. Any updates to this checkbox will take effect the next time SearchSpring updates your search index.
You can Edit any synonyms you have added by clicking on the pencil icon.
Synonyms may be removed from this list by clicking the Delete icon.
Grouped Synonyms Table
The column labeled "Searching for any keyword in the group returns the same results for all keywords" shows all terms/phrases that are linked together by a single synonym separated by commas.
One-Way Synonyms Table
This is the term/phrase that will cause the trigger to take affect when searched by a customer.
"Also finds these words:"
These are the terms/phrases linked to the "Searching for" word. When the "searching for" terms/phrases are searched, SearchSpring will also look for results with these words in products' data.
Tips & Tricks
- When adding synonyms, try to make them short and simple. If you notice people are constantly spelling a word wrong in a phrase, don't create a synonym for that entire phrase. Create a synonym for the word that is misspelled.
- Listing multiple synonyms separated with a comma is key and will save you a lot of time if you need to edit anything later.
- Avoid adding a synonym that has a term in your keyword. For example: If you created an entry for "Batman" to replace "Batman Shirt", the replacement will process, then see "Batman" and try to replace it another time. SearchSpring handles this as well as it can, but it can be messy and confusing.
- Synonyms will not affect matches on code fields (such as matching on a product's SKU)