Search in the form of questions not working

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Search in the form of questions not working

Postby parsonsv on Fri Feb 08, 2019 11:39 am

If a user searches for the following in the HTML5 help output, they get a number of results:

print a document

However, if they write it as a question, they get zero results:

how do I print a document

What is the trick to enable results when a user phrases their search in the form of a question?
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Re: Search in the form of questions not working

Postby SKamprowski on Mon Feb 11, 2019 7:03 am

Hello,

I assume it depends on type of your target. Please look whether you find a way to define a list of stop words.
Kind regards,
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Re: Search in the form of questions not working

Postby Dave Lee on Wed Feb 13, 2019 1:33 am

MadCap's search will only show topics in the results that include all words (like a boolean 'and').

By default, the search doesn't include "stop words" (common words), so "do" and "I" would be ignored.
However, "how" isn't a stop word, so I presume your topic doesn't include that word.
https://help.madcapsoftware.com/flare20 ... -Words.htm

If people use natural language in MadCap's search (like they would in Google), then they'll probably get poorer results. In my projects, I use a custom search results page which includes tips on how best to use the search.
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Re: Search in the form of questions not working

Postby parsonsv on Thu Feb 28, 2019 12:44 pm

Ahhhh, I see. Do you know if there's a way to add "stop words" to Flare's list of stop words?
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Re: Search in the form of questions not working

Postby Dave Lee on Fri Mar 01, 2019 12:21 am

Yep, it tells you how to add stop words in the help topic I linked to.
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Re: Search in the form of questions not working

Postby parsonsv on Thu Mar 07, 2019 2:20 pm

Dave Lee wrote:Yep, it tells you how to add stop words in the help topic I linked to.


I'm sorry - I totally missed that when I was scanning the replies! Thank you very much. Looks like it's a language skin, so I could set up my new stop words and then add them to the master project to share with all the projects.

Time to experiment!
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Re: Search in the form of questions not working

Postby parsonsv on Thu Mar 07, 2019 3:38 pm

Oh no! I followed all the instructions, and then when I expanded the note at the very bottom of the help topic, it said:

NOTE: Stop words are not customizable in HTML5 outputs.
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Re: Search in the form of questions not working

Postby Dave Lee on Fri Mar 08, 2019 12:48 am

Sorry about that - I knew in the back of my mind that this functionality existed, but didn't realise it doesn't work for any 'current' help outputs. (DotNetHelp is already dead, and I'm sure WebHelp will be dead soon.)
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Re: Search in the form of questions not working

Postby parsonsv on Fri Mar 08, 2019 10:17 am

Dave Lee wrote:Sorry about that - I knew in the back of my mind that this functionality existed, but didn't realise it doesn't work for any 'current' help outputs. (DotNetHelp is already dead, and I'm sure WebHelp will be dead soon.)

No problem - I'm sure they'll catch up some day :(
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Re: Search in the form of questions not working

Postby JRtechw on Tue Aug 20, 2019 5:47 pm

Sorry if this is a little late, but I also faced the same problem in our HTML5 knowledge bases. Our users are so used to Google searches that natural language queries are very common, and often produce no results, identified in Google Analytics.

I have a custom SERP for no results, but I've found users (or our users anyway) tend to not read any of our search advice. So going off the principle of 'doing the work for user', I've written some basic-level jq into our no results SERP to:

1. Grab the natural language search query the user typed in.
2. Strip all the junk out of it so you are just left with keywords and numbers. (I just use a brute force common words list for this, nothing fancy.)
3. Construct a hyperlink that is a 'Flare keyword search equivalent' of their natural query.
4. Present this hyperlink as an alternative in a very noticeable style up the top of the no results page. All they have to do is click on the hyperlink to rerun the search based on keywords; they don't have to retype anything at all.

It's early days yet, but user response seems to have been positive, and there's been a slight reduction in the bounce rate from search result pages. Combine this with the new micro content mapping for search results and you can really start to funnel those ambiguous searches.
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