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Continuous Optimization Approach| Hitchhikers Platform

What You’ll Learn

In this section, you will learn:

  • Why continuous optimization is important
  • Types of optimizations

Overview

Search is a critical part of any brand’s marketing stack and it requires constant monitoring and iteration. Things change – whether your customers are changing, your brand is changing or releasing new products, or there are larger market trends and global shifts happening. With many older systems and technologies, this change can be hard to keep up with. With Yext’s platform, change is easy, quick and encouraged.

With the Yext Experience Cloud we talk a lot about “continuous optimization” when we refer to the role of the Yext Administrator, which we also refer to as the Hitchhiker Lifecycle.

hitchhiker lifecycle diagram

Continuous Optimization means that you are in a constant cycle of figuring out what you can be doing better. How can you get better results? How can you increase conversion? How can you surface more data? How can you reduce more costs? These questions are critical to ask about your brand or your customer’s brand. With Yext Knowledge Graph, Answers and Pages, you have the power to make a tangible impact on a brand’s results.

Customer Intent

The power of Answers lies, in part, with the analytics and insights you can get about your customer. It’s a goldmine of information to find out exactly what your customer is looking for, also known as their intent.

Because Answers’ Analytics shows you valuable insights – like how complete your search results are, how many clicks you’re getting, and what people are exactly searching for – you can better understand what kinds of changes you might make in your organization to improve the consumer experience — and how you can improve your Answers experience – so that it’s optimized for responding to customer intent.

virtuous cycle of answers

As you gain insight from people’s searches and clicks, you’re able to get a sense for their true intent. Once you learn their intent, you can make educated decisions about search and about your business strategy as a whole. And as you improve the answers people are seeing, they’ll come to rely more heavily on search, giving you even more information about what they need and how you can help them. Over time, this creates a flywheel that turns itself and becomes a key source of intelligence for your business.

capitalizing on intent

In many cases, we encourage customers to go live as soon as possible to start collecting some of this valuable data, even if we haven’t established a complete Knowledge Graph. This allows us to better inform how we structure the Knowledge Graph. If a brand already has search on their site, past search logs can also help with this.

Types of Post-Launch Optimizations in Answers

In Answers, there are two categories of optimizations, though they often overlap:

  1. UI Improvements
  2. Search Quality Improvements

UI Improvements

UI improvements are all about ways that you can adjust the look and feel of the search results to drive more conversions or engagement.

For example, you could:

  • Change CTA labels or URLs to maximize click-through rate (CTR)
  • Expose more content on result cards so users can get their answers more quickly, or hide content if the results are too cluttered and causing confusion
  • Change colors or fonts to increase readability

You can evaluate these kinds of issues based on engagement, click-through rate, and qualitative feedback from your users.

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Tip
Try the overlay integration method and get insight into which UI users favor by dimensioning on Integration Source in Report Builder. Learn more about this use case in the Answers Analytics in Report Builder unit.

Search Quality Improvements

We’ve talked a lot about the Search Quality Levers:

search quality levers diagram

In post-launch, it’s really about using the search term behavior and results to drive changes in the Search Configuration and Knowledge Graph (while also reporting any major algorithm issues to Yext).

This includes:

  • Adding New Verticals, e.g., if you see lots of queries around jobs and you don’t have this data in your experience yet
  • Adding New Fields, e.g., if you see people searching for attributes or features of a product, location, job or professional
  • Filling out your Knowledge Graph, e.g., making sure the Entities and Fields you’ve added have as rich data as possible
  • Updating Searchable Fields in the Search Configuration, e.g., making sure Answers indexes everything or changing the type of searchable field
  • Adding Boosts with Vertical Intents in the Search Configuration, e.g., if you want certain verticals to return above or below others (you’ll learn more about this later)
  • Adding Business Specific Synonyms, e.g., if there are terms that customers use that are unrecognized by the algorithm
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    What are the types of post-launch optimizations? (Select all that apply)

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    What types of activities can you expect to do post-launch? (Select all that apply)

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