Test Search | Yext Hitchhikers Platform

What You’ll Learn

By the end of this unit, you will be able to:

  • Define Test Search and describe why it is useful
  • Navigate to the screens where Test Search lives
  • List the key features of Test Search and what they allow you to see
  • Run a test search and toggle between search tabs and configuration labels


Test Search allows you to run search queries and preview how results are returned based on your Search configuration. This is a great way to test changes you make to your configuration to make sure the results are what you intended without having to switch over to your frontend experience.

Note that Test Search is not a preview of your actual Search frontend build. It shows the results returned by the backend that will be passed to the frontend via the Search API. You’ll still need to build a separate frontend to actually display the results, where you can add branding and styling.

Test Search can be found in the Search section of the platform. Once you select the specific experience you want to manage, there are several places you can find Test Search:

  • Home: The Home screen will land you directly on a full screen Test Search. full screen test search

  • Experience Details: This screen shows Test Search on the right panel of the screen.

  • Configuration: All the screens under the Configuration section of your experience will show Test Search on the right panel, except for the Edit as JSON screen.

    right panel test search

Test Search gives you greater visibility into your search configuration’s output, beyond just the order in which results are returned. Once you run a test search, you’ll be presented with many features, including:

  • Results returned (in universal and vertical search, including direct answers and featured snippets)
  • Configurations applied to the search results (version/labels, NLP filters, facets)
  • Tools to help you debug search queries (search logs, API response)

Let’s walk through each of these in more depth.

View Results Returned


  • Entity Previews: Test Search displays entity results using the same entity previews that you can configure in the Content. This allows you to view the most important information about the entities so you can determine whether these are the entities you want to surface in results. To learn more about entity previews, including how to customize each entity type’s preview content settings, check out the Customize Field Sections and Entity Previews unit.

  • Vertical Tabs: For a given query, you can toggle between universal search and vertical search tabs to better visualize how an end-user may see results for a given query. Learn more about universal and vertical search in the What is a Search Experience unit.

  • Direct Answers and Featured Snippets: Direct answers and featured snippets are returned in Test Search, making it easier to test and debug queries. Learn more about direct answers in the Direct Answers unit.

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Advanced Search Tier Features
Direct answers and featured snippets are only available on the Advanced Search tier. Check out the Search Tiers reference doc to learn more about the features that are available in each tier.

See Configurations Applied


  • Testing Versions: Test Search allows you to run and compare queries by version, either a specific version number or a label (Staging or Production). Simply use the drop down within Test Search to select a Search configuration version and then run your search. Learn more about configuration versions in the Create and Edit the Search Config unit.

  • Prompts and Popular Queries: When you click into the search bar, Test Search shows the prompts configured. When you start typing, it’ll continue to show prompts and add popular queries. Learn more in the Query Suggestions unit.

  • NLP Filters: Test Search displays which NLP filters have been applied to a given query. Hover over the tooltip description to see what field and value filters were applied. Learn more about searchable fields and NLP filters in the Searchable and Display Fields unit.

  • Facets: Test Search supports facets in vertical search. This will allow you to see applicable facets as well as apply them to the search results in order to gauge their impact. Note that this is only available in the full screen Test Search on the Home screen. Learn more about facets in the Facets and Filters (Backend) unit.

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Advanced Search Tier Feature
NLP filters are only available on the Advanced Search tier. Check out the Search Tiers reference doc to learn more about the features that are available in each tier.

Edit and Debug Results

  • View Search Logs: After you run a test search, you can see it immediately in the search logs. Click the dropdown next to the Edit Results button and select “Debug Query” to view that particular query’s search log page, where you can see search factors and more to debug the query. Learn more about search logs in the Debug the Backend unit.

  • View API Responses: You can view the raw API responses directly from any query. Click the dropdown and select “View Code” to view the API request and response information to debug the query. Learn more about API responses in the Debug the Backend unit.

  • Add Entities: If you notice that a result you’re expecting is missing because the entity is not in the platform, you can add an entity directly from Test Search. At the beginning of the results for each vertical, there’s a link to add an entity for that vertical.

  • Edit Results: Edit the results of that particular search query by clicking the “Edit Results” button. This will open up the Search Merchandiser, allowing you to reorder entities, reorder verticals, and change featured snippets. Learn more about editing results in the Search Merchandiser unit.

unit Quiz
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    Error Success Question 1 of 3

    In which of these scenarios would it be useful to run a test search?

    Error Success Question 2 of 3

    Where can you find Test Search (select all that apply)?

    Error Success Question 3 of 3

    You run a search for 'open jobs' in Test Search on the Verticals screen. Which of these features could appear in the results?

    Soon you'll be your brand's hero! 🎓

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