Some call it spring cleaning, we call it refactoring. Our Solr extension for Magento just got a major refactoring: we take the existing Magento 1 Solr extension and prepare the code to be a basis for both a Magento 1 and Magento 2 extension. Along with this refactoring, we also added a number of valuable features to IntegerNet_Solr. These features have an impact on search results, usability and SEO.
Solr extension improves filters in Magento
With an extensive product catalog often comes a big number of filters. Filters are a good way to narrow down search results step by step until customers find exactly what they are looking for. Magento offers a basic filter functionality. Our Solr module extends these features, improving their usability and eliminating a common SEO problem.
Multiple filter values
Magento’s standard filters for search results and category pages don’t allow customers to select multiple values for a filter. Even if they are looking for brown or black shoes, Magento’s filters only allow them to select one color. IntegerNet_Solr 1.5 improves the filters’ usability by enabling to search for multiple filter values at the same time. Search results are narrowed down to show all results which match any of the selected values of a filter – just as you would expect them to do.
Horizontal display of filters with mobiles in mind
Since on tablets and smartphones, product search is often easier to use than an extensive navigation, we put an emphasis on making product search with IntegerNet_Solr as easy as possible to use on these devices. Depending on your Magento store’s design, filters in a sidebar might not properly fit into your template. A horizontal position of filters above search results makes them easier to use. Placed here, filters don’t take away the more limited width of your pages’ design.
Useful filters only for category pages
With an extensive product catalog in your Magento store, it makes sense to offer a lot of different filters. However, some of these might appear a bit misplaced on certain category pages. If you use IntegerNet_Solr for category pages, which by the way is a great way to speed up your category pages’ load time, you are now free to decide which filters should be available on which category page. Full control if you need it, a normal working default configuration if you don’t have these troubles.
Improved user experience with Solr for Magento
From a customer’s point of view, a product search use is to show relevant products to an entered search term. The online store’s managers see product search more as a tool to make the shopping process as easy as possible. Any detour should be cut, any distraction removed. The improvements to search results and user experience of this IntegerNet_Solr release offer a benefit for both points of view.
Improved search results for exact matches
Imagine the search term is “girls t-shirts” and there’s a category for “girls t-shirts” in your store. Since the customer’s idea matches a category, it makes sense to boost those search results which belong to this category. Adjust the boost factor to give more relevance to those search results if their category matches the search term.
You can take things even further. Why take an extra step via the search results page when a customer’s search term is very clear? “Apple iPhone 6s Plus 128 GB Space Grey” – a search term like this really doesn’t need a search results page that includes other iPhone models. If the search term is an exact match for a product’s name, SKU or any other searchable attribute, with IntegerNet_Solr you can allow direct redirects for these kinds of matches. When your store offers B2B products and your customers know the SKU of what they want, this feature takes them even faster the product they are looking for.
Exact matches can also redirect to Magento’s category pages. If customers are looking for “Apple iPhone 6s”, a redirect takes them to a matching category offering all relevant models.
SEO friendly Solr search results in Magento
When you spend some time with e-commerce SEO, you’ll come across problematic page types, such as filtered category pages, filtered search results and even normal search results. Do they consist of unique content, similar content or even duplicate content? In Magento, there’s no easily available configuration to manage these pages’ indexing by search engines.
With IntegerNet_Solr, you are now able to decide if search results pages, filtered search results and / or category pages should have the meta robots tag value “NOINDEX, NOFOLLOW”. With this handy feature, you can minimize the impact of duplicate content on your search engine ranking.
This new release of IntegerNet_Solr certainly has a lot of new features for you to explore. For a full list of all features this Solr extension for Magento has to offer, take a look at IntegerNet_Solr’s features.
We are already working on the next release which includes a great feature. Just a hint: there are not just categories and product pages in a store. Stay tuned for more! In the meantime, we welcome your feedback as a valuable input for our product’s roadmap. Send us your feedback either here in the comment section or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Author: Sonja Franz
Sonja Franz is the Head of Communications at integer_net. She especially enjoys organising events. Sonja is a Magento Certified Solution Specialist for Magento 1 and Magento 2 and has been awarded as a Magento Master in the category “Maker” in 2017, 2018 and 2019.