Elastic Search: Site Search and Filters Examples

17 Feb, 2017

How often do you search for something? And how often do you find exactly what you need? And, more importantly, how much time does it take you to find what you are looking for? Perhaps, everybody thought about this at some point. And it’s extremely irritating when you need to spend an eternity to find a little piece of information. But why does it happen?

Well, a general search algorithm provides you with the best possible outcomes. It’s built in a way to match your results fully, partially and sometimes very remotely. At times, this can be quite useful, yet, in most cases turns out to be extremely time-consuming.

And we are not only talking about web search but also site search, databases, libraries and so many more. Suppose you are searching for something on a website but after a few queries still don’t get what you need. And hours later you might find it in the place you least expected to. Annoying, right? It’s like having sugar kept in a can which says “cocoa” and stored in a fridge.

If you have a website of your own and want to implement search, you don’t want your users to end up in that kind of a situation. That’s why you need to make your search as efficient as possible. And to make this happen, you may consider implementing elastic search.

What Is Elastic Search?

Elasticsearch is a search engine that was built based on Lucene. The first version has been released back in 2010 and since then has received a few updates and additions. According to the DB-Engines ranking, Elasticsearch is the most popular search engine and is way ahead of its competitors.

What makes it so attractive and how can it help you? First of all, Elasticsearch has a wide range of uses, like a site, database, or documentation search. Secondly, it provides you with tools for guiding users through the websites and helping them find what they are looking for. Your customers can use filters to adjust the search. This option helps create an outstanding experience for them. Besides that, you are also able to track and analyze search results in real time.

How Does Elastic Search Work?

So, let’s see what is it exactly that you can do with Elasticsearch. Well, you definitely can place a search on your website. But putting it out there doesn’t help much if it’s not utilized efficiently. Swiftype is a tool powered by Elasticsearch created specifically for the site search. It has multiple functions designed for various types of websites according to their needs. And the beauty of it is that introducing Swiftype into your website doesn’t even require any coding.

Having a simple search is, of course, nice but it does not always give you all the necessary information. You have found a nice Italian restaurant, but what’s the point if it’s in Napoli and you’re in New York? This is where you can make use of faceted navigation. Adding filters will make your search more precise and your users’ experience much better.

Filters In The Elastic Search

The Elastic Search engine allows you to set up filters for the search queries. The filters can be based on various attributes, such as geopositioning, content, price, date, etc. Their aim is to provide users with the most relevant and useful search results. Aggregation is used to sort complex queries and certain filters can be automatically cached by the system if they are used very often.

Depending on what your website is about you can add filters to match the content. For example, a search by content, author, title, publisher on a website dedicated to books and articles. The ability to sort by color, size, type, or availability for an online store.

The advantage of an Elasticsearch filter query is that a complex search can be performed. Meaning, that if several filters have been applied at once, Elasticsearch will execute them in one query to provide necessary results.

Swiftype also allows you re-arranging provided search results by your preference. You can hide those you consider being irrelevant. Another great option is weighting the results. Weights allow you to control the appearance of search results by their attributes. Those can be popularity, price, location or any another Elasticsearch filter.

What users search for does not always match what they get. But you can improve the situation by setting up synonyms for various queries. You can introduce certain associative words into the filters to provide more matches.

Which Options Does the Elastic Search Include?

Packages provided for Swiftype vary depending on the features included. The number or queries made per month, number of documents available, recrawling frequency, etc. The Standard package starts at $80/month and has 50 000 queries included. The Enterprise package is available for $2000+ depending on the volume. There are also special migration packages for those switching from Google Search. The packages and their pricing are available here.

Success Stories

Some successful companies used Elasticsearch software and Swiftype to improve their businesses. Among those are corporations like Samsung, At&t, Twilio, Shopify and many more.

For example, Shopify has implemented Swiftype into their documentation search. What was initially planned as a short-term fix, ended up being a permanent solution. Shopify can now improve and analyze search results to help the support team work faster.

Another great Elastic Search example is SurveyMonkey. They also have introduced the search into their Knowledgebase. Now, they have more control over which pages are being shown to their customers. The ability to see changes in real time was a deal breaker for their team.

The website for the City of Portland was able to see the advantages of implementing Elasticsearch as well. They even claimed that the amount of searches has dropped down twice since they switched to Swiftype. They consider it to be a sign of the searches being more relevant. After all, sometimes less is more.

Wrap up

Providing your users the ability to find what they need in no time is crucial. It can enable your site visitors to spend more time on your website. The Elasticsearch website search is a great deal in helping you achieve this goal and improve your website performance. You are getting a solution which allows you guiding your users, helping them and simply making them happier. Monitoring and analyzing tools available only make this better. Now, you have a better idea of what Elasticsearch is and how it works and can decide how to make it useful for your business.