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Search Configuration Overview| Hitchhikers Platform

What You’ll Learn

In this section, you will learn:

  • Search Configuration Overview
  • Frontend vs. Backend
  • Editing Search Configuration: UI and JSON
  • Navigating to Search Configuration

Search Configuration Overview

As you learned in the Overview of Answers Infrastructure module, there are three levers that control how search results are returned in Answers. The first is the Knowledge Graph, which is where you will define the data model and manage the core entity data. The second is the Answers algorithm itself, which is managed by Yext. The third is the Search Configuration, which you will learn about in this module.

The Search Configuration (“config” or “configuration” for short!) is a backend tool that allows an Administrator to define business rules and search logic, which feed into the overall Answers algorithm. Within the Search Configuration, an Administrator will define verticals, control which entities flow into the experience, determine how entities are sorted and ranked, set up various filters, create synonyms, and much more.

search quality levers diagram

You will typically begin building your Search Configuration shortly after you kick off the project. The prerequisite to building the Search Configuration file is that you have an underlying Knowledge Graph set up – so entity types, entity relationships, and custom fields are activated and entity data is loaded in.

Once your Knowledge Graph is ready to be configured in a search experience, all you have to do is navigate to the Answers tab of the platform (more to come on this in Unit 3!) and create and edit the Search Configuration.

When you are ready to begin building the Search Configuration, you can navigate to the Answers > Experiences tab of the Yext platform. By clicking “Add Experience”, you will begin the process of setting up your configuration via the Yext platform. You will be prompted and guided through the set up process when you begin creating your Search Configuration.

Frontend vs. Backend

Because the Search Configuration is on the backend, you are setting up the underlying data and business logic for the search experience. It is not a frontend control. You will learn about the frontend in future modules, which will allows you to define the display, colors, branding, etc. of the data being surfaced in the experience.

diagram backend frontend

When you edit the configuration in the UI, you will be able to test various queries in real-time with Experience Preview. Experience Preview, formerly known as Test Search, is a platform tool we offer so you can test queries and review various changes you make to your configuration (i.e., the backend), without needing to go to your frontend or live preview. For example, if you add a synonym or Query Rule to the backend through your Search Configuration, you can quickly preview the logic change on the right side of your screen.

With Experience Preview, you’ll be able to preview changes to your config in real-time, including activating featured snippets, applying NLP filters, and more. You can learn more about Experience Preview features in the following unit.

Note that Test Search is not a preview of your actual Answers frontend build. You will learn how to create a full Answers frontend and add branding, styling, fonts, etc. in future tracks. You will ultimately apply your backend Search Configuration to your frontend thereby creating a full, consumer-facing Answers search experience.

navigating to search configuration

Search Configuration UI and Search Configuration JSON

By default, you will set up your Search Configuration via the UI in the Yext platform. The UI will allow you to quickly set up a configuration that pulls in the relevant verticals, entities, searchable fields (more to come on this!), synonyms, hardcoded prompts, and more.

Within the platform, you can optionally edit the configuration in JSON. Simply hover over to the “JSON” link within the configuration and begin making edits. Make sure to always save your configuration edits before toggling between UI and JSON formats. You can learn more about JSON syntax in the JSON Module.

navigating to search configuration

The UI and JSON editor will always mirror each other and be in sync. Ultimately, it will be your choice on how you want to edit the configuration, either through the UI or with JSON syntax. Throughout the training, we will provide guidance on how to edit the configuration with either method.

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JSON Editor & New Features
Some Answers configuration features might only be available via the JSON editor. We will make sure to list out JSON-only features in the Configuration: Additional Settings Unit.

As a reminder, the Search Configuration lives under the Answers > Experiences tab in the platform. The Home page will land you directly on a full screen Experience Preview.

navigating to search configuration

unit Quiz
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    Error Success Question 1 of 2

    True or False: The Search Configuration controls the frontend, so an Administrator can use it to maintain the display of Answers results.

    Error Success Question 2 of 2

    Which of the following is NOT controlled through the Search Configuration?

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