Step 4: Backend Configuration

You may catch some configuration issues while QA’ing for search quality, but perhaps certain issues only show up for a particular type of query or a small group of queries. You might not find these issues if you don’t test the right queries. Additionally, it can be difficult to know certain backend config options are applied based on running searches in the frontend, such as query rules and sorting logic. We recommend performing a high-level check of the backend configuration to quickly check that the setup makes sense.

Here are items to check for when QA’ing the backend config (sorted by the order they appear in the Search Experiences tab):

Vertical Searchable Fields

Take a quick look at the searchable field configuration for each vertical to look for anything unusual or against best practices. You can reference the Searchable Field Best Practices reference doc.

Default Sort Order

If the Admin has customized the default sorting for any verticals, do a quick check to ensure that custom sorting logic makes sense and is actually working on the staging site. Check out the Hitchhikers unit on how to set entity sorting in the configuration (separate from frontend sorting that we covered earlier).

Vertical Prompts

As mentioned in the Search Quality step, Admins are encouraged to set up both static and “mad-lib” style vertical prompts for each vertical. Since mad-lib style prompts only show once a user starts typing in the search bar, it is much easier to check in the backend config. At the very least, it is generally best practice to enable [[name]] as a madlib style prompt for each vertical. Check out the Query Suggestions unit for best practices for prompts.


Based on the vertical or type of Search experience, sense-check for expected synonyms. For example, if the client is a bank that offers Certificates of Deposit, you’d want to make sure there was a synonym set up between “CD” and “Certificate of Deposit”. Check out the Synonyms unit for best practices.

Query Rules

If the Admin has set up any query rules, do a quick check to ensure the criteria and actions make sense logically and that they are working correctly on the staging site. Check out the Query Rules unit.

Bounding Box (if applicable, JSON only)

If the experience includes any location-based entities that are confined to a specific region, state, city, etc., it is best practice to add a bounding box around that particular region for a more accurate location-based search experience. If applicable, check the backend configuration JSON for a bounding box. Check out the Bounding Box section in the Top-Level Search Config Properties doc.