The purpose of any e-commerce website is to make finding and buying products as easy and convenient as possible for visitors. More and more, consumers are using on-site search to find what they are looking for quickly. And, you may be already familiar with statistics saying that a visitor who searches your site is more likely to buy from the online store than one who doesn’t.

Magento offers standard search out of the box that gives you the ability to actually modify and control your search results page; however, it would be not right to claim that it is perfect. There are several ways to improve the native Magento search. The first step you could start with is to make yourself familiar with the Magento’s search methods and choose the right one. Magento Community offers the following search methods that can be configured to optimize the search in your store:

  • “like” search type
  • “full-text” search type
  • “combined” search type (like + full-text).

In the standard Magento configuration search type is set to “like” that, actually, doesn’t produce impressive results due to its “nature”. This search type produces results similar to the keyword that is entered. For example, if you are selling online such products as tracksuits and swimsuits, and the customer on your website enters the word ‘suit’, to the visitor will be suggested all items where the product names have the word ‘suit’ in them. This search method isn’t based on ‘relevance’ so it is not the most accurate method of searching.

The “full-text” search method will indeed return a much more focused results and not only partial matches. But this search type has a huge disadvantage. If the customers mistype, they will never get the expected results.

When improving the native Magento search we would rather recommend activating the third search type “combined”, as it uses the power of “like” and “full-text” search options at the same time.

When it comes to Magento Enterprise websites, their search capabilities are more advanced than in Magento Community, as they are supported by Apache Solr search engine. In more details we will consider this platform a little bit later.

There is one more way to optimize Magento native search. It is time-consuming, but worth it: take your time with the data and configure attributes to match the consumers’ behavior on your website. Gather information, and analyze-analyze-and-analyze it! Consider what terms are your visitors searching for most frequently on your site? Where do they make mistakes? How can you help your customers to find the products they are looking for? And, then based on the results of your research improve your website’s search.


As you see, the standard Magento search can be improved; however, it still tends to lack the advanced search functionality and high-level system support required to produce highly relevant product lists. It can be changed by installing search extensions that will add advanced functions and thereby make customer experience more pleasant. There are several main areas of Magento search to be extended:

  • relevant results
  • tolerance of misspellings
  • use of labels or synonyms
  • auto-complete/auto-suggest
  • search speed.

Relevant results:

Relevance of search results is key for user trust and loyalty. It’s clearly important that your customers need to be able to find the products they are looking for when they search your site. If they don’t, they will look elsewhere. All the work and time you’ve spent will be for naught.

Tolerance of misspellings:

It’s common for people to make spelling mistakes when searching for items. Error tolerance, by understanding typos and misspelling, dramatically improves user experience and keeps the user on your website. It is good option to show the misspelled search term alongside the correct spelling.

Use of labels or synonyms:

It is great ability to add synonyms for search queries so that customers will be presented with terms that are commonly used across the catalog. For example, if the term “bike” is not commonly used in attributes that are indexed in search, you can have this as a synonym for “bicycle” if that is a very common term used in product names and descriptions.

Auto-complete/auto-suggest:

Auto-complete suggestions are great time savers for shoppers. This feature lets store visitors see the list of the most relevant results right after the first characters are entered into the search box. The results are usually arranged and displayed in a search box drop-down menu. Auto-complete for site searches is especially worth considering if you have numerous products. You can also display recommended results inside the search box that match to the auto-completed search queries, enabling customers to click directly into a product’s detail page without having to look through a search results page.

Search speed:

None likes waiting. Even very loyal customers. If the customers have to wait for the search results too long, there are two scenarios: 1. They leave; 2. They get frustrated. Both scenarios are not good. So to this issue should be included in your “what-to-improve-list”.


If you have high loaded store and hundreds of search requests per second, it is highly recommended using search platforms and the services based on them that replace core Magento products/content search and boast extra features and better performance. Below is the list with the most used search platforms and solutions as well as extensions aimed to integrate them with Magento websites:

  • Solr
  • Sphinx
  • ElasticSearch
  • Amazon CloudSearch
  • Sooqr Search
  • SLI learning search

Solr

Apache Solr is an open source search platform. In comparison to the standard search of Magento, Solr differentiates itself through a significantly higher performance. Its major features include powerful full-text search, faceted search and filtering, hit highlighting, database integration, rich document handling, and geospatial search. SOLR is used by all the top stores and platforms including Magento EE as were mentioned above.

Extensions:

Sphinx

Sphinx is an open source full text search server and for those who might confuse it with the Great Sphinx of Giza, Sphinx is the acronym for SQL Phrase Index. Sphinx search has a lot of advantages like high relevancy, flexibility of sorting results, performance and allows normalizing the spelling variations, synonyms and abbreviation. This powerful search engine is used by different popular websites, such as Craigslist.org, mysql.com, joomla.org, tumblr.com, Dailymotion.com. etc.

Extensions:

 

ElasticSearch

ElasticSearch is a flexible and powerful open source, distributed, real-time search and analytics engine. This search engine is the second most popular enterprise search engine. It provides scalable search, has near real-time search, and supports multitenancy.

Extensions:

Amazon Cloud Search

Amazon CloudSearch is a fully managed service in the AWS Cloud that makes it easy to set up, manage, and scale a search solution for your website. Amazon CloudSearch supports faceted searching, free text searching, text processing, highlighting, geospacial search, Boolean expressions, customized relevance ranking, field-based sorting, and other advanced functions.

Extensions:

Sooqr

Sooqr is a paid service that enables extreme fast search for online shops. It generates relevant results, the spelling corrector ensures that the search takes place using the right term, keeps track of the way your visitors search, so the website owners can get a really good insight of the usage of your site search.

Extensions:

SLI Learning Search

Learning Search is an advanced, SaaS-based site search solution. SLI is an acronym meaning “Search, Learn and Improve”. SLI Systems’ patented learning technology that learns from visitors’ site search activity and clicks to deliver the most relevant results. By tracking every query and clicks, Learning Search improves relevance and reduces the time it takes customers to find what they’re looking for. It has many more great functions.

Extensions:


SEARCH EXTENSIONS FOR MAGENTO

There are more than 150 extensions currently available on Magento’s official marketplace Magento Connect that cover almost every aspect of search process and offer functions you sometimes even do not think of. Every day several new extensions developed by Magento partners and enthusiasts are added. Which one to choose? It’s so easy to get lost among the variety of search extensions. So we decided to help you out with this a little bit. We have listed 10 of the extensions that can be useful for your website.

 

Search Auto-complete and Suggest

Price: 99$

Compatibility: CE 1.4-1.9, EE 1.12-1.14 

The expansion is aiming to improve the native Magento search. It doesn’t replace or optimize search but organizes the results in a nice and convenient way. After a users types the first three characters of their search term, accurate suggestions are shown and they can easily navigate to the desired product by passing the search result page. Main features of the extension:

  • Customizable search item layout
  • Customizable product thumbnail dimension
  • AJAX-based
  • Keyboard navigation in the search results list
  • Customizable search delay
  • Ability to limit searched items displayed in the dropdown list etc.

 

Advanced Search

Price: 99$

Compatibility: CE 1.4-1.9, EE 1.11-1.14

This extension replaces standard Magento search and uses Sphinx as external search engine, so it has all the advantages of this search engine. As a result you will get a faster search, a decreased server load, and more trustworthy results.

 

Search Pro

Price: 99$

Compatibility: CE 1.4-1.9, EE 1.8-1.14 

Search Pro by Amasty offers a number of great features that quickly deliver accurate search results. It also enhances search functionality by allowing Magento to search through product attributes system to further match up search terms with product. The extension’s main features:

  • Possibility to choose the search type (“like”, “full-text” and “combined”)
  • Search priority settings for product attributes
  • Highly-configurable auto-complete search.

 

Search Suite by MagWorkx

Price: $149

Compatibility: CE 1.4-1.9, EE 1.8-1.14

Search suite provides accurate results with 3 advanced search engines xSearch, Sphinx and Solr. The module increases chances of producing relevant results by correcting misspelled or mistyped keywords. The whole process is very fast and works great even if you have a great number of products, categories or static pages. It has other excellent features:

  • Excluding stop words, synonyms support
  • Offers an insight into customer shopping preferences
  • AJAX-based auto-complete
  • Customizable window
  • The ability to define the search priority of products
  • Calculating a search “weight”.

 

Shpinx Search Ultimate

Price: 149$

Compatibility: CE 1.4-1.9, EE 1.11-1.14 

Sphinx Search Ultimate uses the Sphinx search engine, and therefore uses its advantages as well. These include high speed search, the ability to handle large volumes of data, high precision search and more. The extension has functions of spell correction and auto complete of search query. Other features:

  • Search by multiple content types
  • “Long Tail” search
  • Fallback search
  • Pushing “out of stock” products to the end
  • Ability to set search category
  • Uses AJAX
  • High searching speed of over 500 queries/sec against 1,000,000 SKUs.

 

Advanced Sphinx Search Pro

Price: 99$

Compatibility: CE 1.4-1.9, EE 1.11-1.14 

Advanced Sphinx Search Pro replaces Magento search with the Sphinx-powered search. In the result – faster and more relevant search. The key features include:

  • High search relevance
  • Product attributes weighting
  • Morphological word supported
  • Stemming, synonyms, stopwords
  • “Long tail” search strategy
  • Search Landing Pages
  • Searching speed of over 500 queries/sec against 1,000,000 SKUs.

 

Solr Bridge Search

Price: $450

Compatibility: CE 1.4-1.9

This extension allows you to integrate Solr into Magento platform. There a number of features stated for this extension, such as faceted search, correction of phrases, correcting typos, the attribute rank, multiple shops, high-performance, and the use of Ajax. Other features:

  • Auto-suggestions
  • Attribute search weight
  • Multi stores support
  • Supports CMS pages search
  • Supports blog search.

 

Better Magento search

Price: $80

Compatibility: CE 1.5-1.9 

One more great search extension for Magento. It has a variety of great search features like the following:

  • “Do you mean” function
  • Supports synonyms and word level synonyms Diagnosing
  • Hyphenated word searches supported
  • Searching by product tags
  • Configurable list of ignored/stop words
  • Set product to be on the top or bottom of the list
  • Attributes ranking.

 

Better Store Search

Price: $250

Compatibility: CE 1.4-1.9, EE 1.9.0-1.14 

The extension offers improved search functionality through the use of phonetic matching, rank change of search queries. The administrator has the ability to manually adjust the ratings of results and increase or decrease the chances to show the goods in the first lines. In addition the extension handles requests hyphenated or plural, and this greatly improves the efficiency of the search.

 

Sooqr for Magento

Price: free

Compatibility: CE 1.5-1.9

This extension integrates the Magento website with Sooqr search. Sooqr generates relevant results. It is fast and has other good features like:

  • High relevance
  • Error tolerant
  • Faceted search
  • Multiple view
  • The most important products on top of your results list with rules, synonyms, tags and boosts
  • Metrics
  • Customizable layout.

Take the advantage of additional search features and boost your conversions! You have not found the right solution for yourself. We can help you with this. We provide Magento development services and would be glat to come up with suggestions and help you to implement the needed feature.

If you have any question or are looking for someone to help you with Magento search functionality, please feel free to contact us.