Mastering Magento Search Configuration for Optimal Results
Mastering Magento Search Configuration for Optimal Results

When it comes to e-commerce, having an effective search function is crucial for providing a seamless shopping experience. Magento, a popular e-commerce platform, offers native search functionality, but optimizing it for the best results requires some insight. In this guide, we will delve into the workings of Magento search and explore how to configure it to suit your business needs. Whether you are a smaller retailer working with the native search function or a larger merchant considering third-party solutions, we have you covered.

Magento 2: Evolution in Search

Before diving into the configuration details, let’s highlight some key changes in Magento 2’s search capabilities. Magento 2 Enterprise Edition now offers the option of using ElasticSearch (formerly Solr), providing more robust search capabilities. In contrast, Magento 2 Community Edition only supports MySQL. Notably, Magento 2 no longer includes the ‘like,’ ‘fulltext,’ or ‘combine’ options for query matching, which were available in Magento 1.

Configuring Search in Magento 2

Configuring search in Magento 2 is a pivotal step in enhancing the search experience for your customers. The native options for configuration remain similar to newer versions of Magento 1. Key settings include enabling auto suggestions, defining the minimum query length, and setting the number of recommendations. However, the ‘like,’ ‘fulltext,’ or ‘combine’ option for query matching is no longer available when using MySQL. Below is a screenshot of the search configuration options in the Magento 2 admin interface.

Managing Synonyms in Magento 2

Synonyms play a crucial role in refining search results. Magento 2 handles synonyms much like Magento 1, through the ‘marketing > search synonyms’ function. This feature allows you to manually optimize longer-tail queries and generic synonyms not covered by Magento’s default settings. Smaller retailers looking to use Magento’s native functionality can benefit significantly from investing time in this area.

The Benefits of Third-Party Search Solutions

For many merchants, investing in a specialized third-party search solution is the way to go, as native Magento search functionality has its limitations. Klevu is a market-leading third-party search solution that employs natural language processing (NLP) and machine learning to provide more accurate results. Here are some compelling reasons to consider using Klevu:

  1. Natural Language Processing: Klevu offers a deeper understanding of user queries, providing context for more accurate results.
  2. Machine Learned Results: It continually learns from user interactions, improving product recommendations based on clicks, additions to the cart, and purchases.
  3. Advanced Product Boosting: You can fine-tune product rankings at the SKU level or based on attribute rules.
  4. Comprehensive Reporting: Gain insights into query value and product performance, allowing for data-driven decisions.
  5. Extended Content Indexing: Klevu can index various content types, including forum results and user-generated content.
  6. User-Friendly UI: Deliver rapid search results with an excellent user experience, featuring an intuitive layout.

What to Look for in a Third-Party Search Solution

When considering a third-party search solution, here are essential features to look for:

  1. Lightning-Fast Results: Ensure a rapid auto-suggestions UI for a seamless user experience.
  2. Faceted Search: Enable users to filter results within the results page and auto-suggest UI.
  3. Natural Language Processing: Look for NLP capabilities to enhance accuracy, especially for longer-tail queries.
  4. Error Tolerance: Robust error handling is crucial, as many queries may include mistakes.
  5. Preserved Magento Layout: Ensure that the search results page maintains the same styling and formatting as other Magento templates.
  6. Content Search: The ability to serve various content types in search results, including guides and user-generated content.
  7. Category Listings: Include category results in search to improve user navigation.
  8. Full Synonym Management: Robust synonym management options for handling different terms.
  9. Manual Product Promotion: The ability to boost or negate specific products.
  10. URL Redirect Management: Efficiently manage URL redirects to improve user experience.
  11. Custom Error Messaging: Provide meaningful error messages for zero-result queries.
  12. Reporting on 0-Result Queries: Gain insights into queries with no results to identify potential gaps in your catalog.
  13. B2B Compatibility: Ensure the solution can handle B2B nuances, such as different pricing for custom groups within Magento.

Configuring Search in Magento 1.x

For users still on Magento 1.x, optimizing search results is also possible. In Magento 1.x, you have three core search options: ‘like,’ ‘fulltext,’ and ‘combine.’

  • Like Search: This method finds results similar to the keyword, making it useful for partial matches or typos but may lack relevance.
  • Fulltext Search: It prioritizes relevance and doesn’t find partial matches, offering higher-quality results based on relevance.
  • Combine Search: Combining the benefits of ‘like’ and ‘fulltext’ searches, it allows partial matches while still providing relevance-based results.

Configuring Search in Magento 1.x – Step by Step

  1. Access the Magento admin panel and navigate to ‘System’ > ‘Configuration.’
  2. Scroll down to ‘Catalog’ and select ‘Catalog Search.’
  3. In the ‘Search Type’ option, choose between ‘like,’ ‘fulltext,’ or ‘combine’ search.
  4. After making your selection, proceed to ‘Index Management’ to re-index your search catalog for the changes to take effect.


Optimizing your e-commerce website’s search functionality is crucial for delivering a superior user experience. Magento’s native search capabilities, while functional, may fall short of meeting the demands of larger retailers. We recommend considering third-party solutions like Klevu to harness the power of natural language processing and machine learning for improved results.

Experimentation with both Magento’s native functionality and premium third-party modules can help you determine the impact on your sales. Remember that search is a critical aspect of e-commerce, and investing in a robust search solution can lead to higher customer satisfaction and increased conversions. Explore different solutions, weigh their features, and choose the one that aligns best with your business needs.

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