Site Search to look for Synonyms/Similar/Misspellings?

Hello everyone - I hope you’re all doing well! I’m wondering if anyone has any ideas/recommendations on a problem I’m trying to solve. I have a client who has a list of companies in a custom module. Each company sells different types of products, but not on the client’s site. On the client’s site, they just have a listing with the company name, logo, and a description. I also created a ‘keywords’ custom field so that the client can add relevant keywords that may not be found in the name and/or description field.

I’m wondering if there is a way to manipulate Treepl’s built-in site search to look for synonyms, similar terms, and maybe even misspellings so that the company will appear if there is a typo or similar term in the search. For example, if someone is looking for a men’s t-shirt and types in one of the following:

men’s tshirt, mens t-shirt, men’s blue tshirt, etc.

Is there a way to have a company that lists a ‘men’s t-shirt’ in their keywords and/or description if they don’t use the exact term or phrase? Does that make sense? If not, is anyone aware of a third-party platform that can be embedded on a Treepl CMS site that can do the same thing - and here’s the catch: without ads? Even if it’s a tool that has a subscription fee, I think my client would be willing to pay the fee to have this functionality embedded on their site to search the companies.

Any recommendations are greatly appreciated!

I’d say that using the embeddable Google Site Search would be the most powerful, although I’ve never used this myself.

This article provides further details and instructions:
How to add a Google Search Bar to your Website? - Expertrec

Also, regarding Treepl’s built-in search, you don’t need a custom field for extra keywords (and this actually won’t work with the regular keyword search field anyway). There is a system field called ‘Site Search Keywords’ where you can add other keywords or variations (comma-separated).

I just realised that Google Site Search has ads (should have known :laughing: ).
However, the site I linked to above has their own paid site search tool which looks like it may achieve most of your goals:

Hello @Adam.Wilson ,

Thank you for responding here! Yes, unfortunately (but not surprisingly) it looks like Google’s search will display ads, which the client told me is a hard ‘no’. I actually sort of inherited this project and it does look like the ‘Keyword’ field is the system ‘Site Search Keywords’ and not a custom field (apologies for the confusion on my part!). I did come across the same Expertrec article that you shared here and gave that some thought - but before I recommend we test out the Expertrec search, I just wanted to make sure that I wasn’t missing out on some obvious solution using the built-in site search Treepl module. While the Site Search Keywords field is a great place to put all potential keywords, I’m just not sure that is scalable enough of a solution for them. They have almost a thousand companies and each company sells a huge variety of products and I just don’t think they have the bandwidth to add every single possible keyword and then also the synonyms and possible misspellings. I’m hoping we can find a solution that offers a site search that has that kind of intelligence built in. Maybe Expertrec is the way to go! I will recommend we give that a try and if they decide to have me play around with it, I’ll report back here and let everyone know how it works in case anyone has a similar situation. I just wanted to make sure there wasn’t a built-in feature that had that sort of search intelligence. I know it’s kind of a big ask, but wanted to check here first to make sure I wasn’t missing the obvious.

Thank you again, I really appreciate you jumping in here and offering your help!

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Hi @StudioRTP

How did you go with this?

I just found out that you can remove the ads from the custom Google Site Search by adding your own “Programmable Search Element Paid API” API key (that is connected to a valid payment method).

The pricing for this API is usage-based and seems pretty low (much like most Google APIs).

Plus, the Google Programmable Search Engine service has a lot of customisations and search refinement settings to tailor it to your client’s needs.

Happy to provide more details if still interested in this.

Hello @Adam.Wilson - thank you for this extra information. Is this a new feature or has this been around and I just totally missed it. I don’t know how I missed it because I spent quite a bit of time looking for something and testing out different platforms. Ultimately the client ended up just having someone load up the Site Search Keywords with all relevant terms and then manually added any possible/common misspellings and synonyms using a thesaurus. It was a pretty manual process and I’m not sure that they ever got all the way through the project, but that’s what they told me they were going to do because they didn’t like the ExpertRec UI and it really didn’t offer misspellings and synonyms either unless you loaded them up manually. I didn’t love the UI either on their site, but it was a nice tool and I could see it having a purpose for someone who doesn’t care as much about the consistency in UI between the website and their search tool.

In any event, this is great info and I appreciate you sharing this with me. The client is actually working with Treepl Services on a new design as we speak, so I’m going to reach out to them and ask them if they already have a solution in place, plan to continue using the Site Search Keywords field, or if maybe they are interested in implementing something using the Programmable Search Element Paid API that you mention here. If they decide to check out the paid API, I will definitely reach out if you are willing to share any recommendations! Thank you again for circling back to this, I really appreciate it and I’m sure my client will as well when I reach out and let them know that there is possibly a much easier way to handle what they are doing now via a manual process. I’m sure the manual process was somewhat monotonous and grueling, so they would probably love to move this off their plate to save a considerable amount of time, not to mention taking guesses and making assumptions on the most likely misspellings and synonyms for every vendor and their large variety of products and services.

Thank you @Adam.Wilson - you’re always so helpful and it’s greatly appreciated!

I don’t think it’s a new feature of Google’s custom site search and I certainly missed it too when first looking. But that’s very typical of a Google service - they don’t make their fantastic offerings known and you have to go digging for them :person_facepalming:

I’m experimenting with this at the moment by implementing it on the Treepl Docs site, so I’ll likely make an article on how to implement it as well (but it’s actually pretty straightforward).