Increase online sales thanks to the synonyms feature

Synonyms allow you to tailor the search results without having to make significant changes to the data feed. In any online store, synonym management in the internal search engine is one of the most important customizations that is done by introducing specific information for each language.

According to a study published by the Baymard Institute, 70% of search engines fail their synonym searches, demanding users to search for the precise product name. To avoid this, Doofinder has created a powerful synonym feature so that your customers will always find what they are looking for.

In this post, you’ll learn what synonyms are for and how to include them in your online store’s search engine.

What is the synonym feature for?

The goal of the synonym feature of your online store’s search engine is to create equivalences between different search terms. In such a way that words or groups of words are linked to each other as synonyms, and will return the same results.

For example, pullover ⇔ jumper. A search for “pullover” also returns “jumper”, and a search for “jumper” also returns “pullover”.

Let’s say you have three products in your store:

  • Thick cotton bandage

  • Special heavy machinery handling gloves

  • Low temperature air conditioner

and you have specified the following synonyms line:

1 fat, thick, heavy

After indexing, your three products will look like this:

  • (thick, fat, heavy) cotton bandage Special

  • (thick, fat, heavy) machinery handling gloves

  • Low temperature air conditioner

Whenever the user searches for fat, thick or heavy, products containing any of these words should match as search result. For example, if the user enters the search term FAT, the result from a search will show:

  • Thick cotton bandage

  • Special machinery handling gloves

It is important to analyze your client’s search terms before using the search engine’s synonym feature. You can view their searches in your Admin Panel, Stats (Top Searches). Then, you will be all set to make the most of the synonym feature of your online store’s search engine.

How can you insert simple synonyms in your online store?

The use of synonyms makes results match other terms that are not usually included in your data feed. To add synonyms to your search engine, you need to go to your Admin Panel select a  Search Engine  and click on the Synonyms tab.

Synonyms are inserted through synonym lines. Each line contains the terms that Doofinder has considered as synonyms. Of course, you may create as many lines as you wish and delete those that you find unnecessary in the future.

There are two ways to add synonyms to a line: you can use simple comma-separated synonyms (lucky, fortunate, opportune) or explicit mappings (mp3 player => ipod, i-pod, i pod). Simple comma-separated synonyms return all products containing instances of the synonyms defined in a synonym set, while explicit mappings allow for greater specificity in how a word or term is substituted at indexing time.

When a user searches for anything, Doofinder looks for it in an index. This index is the result of the product info that Doofinder extracts from your data feed. This process is called ‘indexing’.

When synonyms are specified, Doofinder, while indexing, replaces any occurrence of the synonyms with the set of synonyms, and stores it in the index.

Prevent spelling errors

This feature can also be used to prevent the user’s spelling errors in the search engine.

For example, if the user is searching for an iPhone, it is possible that they spell it incorrectly. To solve this, you can create a line of synonyms in which you include the correct word (iPhone) and the most common spelling errors when searching for this phone in your online shop. The order in which you enter the words is irrelevant, for example: “ipone”, “ifone”, “iphon”.

You can think of spelling errors, syntax errors, punctuation errors, synonyms, slang that your users may be entering in your search engine, and you’ll never manage to guess them all. User searches will never cease to amaze you. It is important to correct what is relevant and this will be what appears in the ‘Top Searches’.

This is why, we recommend you to wait before analyzing your clients’ search terms and creating synonym lines, since it doesn’t make sense to enter a list of synonyms that nobody uses, and this could throw unexpected results when searching. Analyzing your users’ search terms will help you create  relevant synonyms, slowly but surely.

If you would like to learn more about Synonyms and how to set them up, visit our Support section: Synonyms.

Last updated: Dec 2021