Search #Hashtags

Online store now supports phrase mashups.

By Kevin RR Williams

WEBSITE Hashtags are not just for Twitter anymore. Other social media platforms like Pinterest include their own internal interpretation of the single-click search feature. Television shows often superimpose hashtags during key performances. Typically, this means that viewers can engage in real-time Twitter discussions.

It may be a little-known fact that both Google and Bing support hashtag queries. Precede a word (or phrase lacking spaces) with a pound sign (#) and Google looks for words with and without the extra character. Bing seems weighted towards ignoring the hashtag, though the search confirmation string displays it as a separate entity. Heuristics of both search engines can even separate distinct words within a conjoined phrase — as significant programming feat. Hence, #medicalofficeposters essentially becomes a query for “# medical+office+posters" OR “medicalofficeposters.”

Amazon borrowed the name “Amy” for its Kindle Fire HD Mayday commercial. Amy is the name ClinicalPosters has been using for its online shopping cart AI since 2012.

Do you have a lazy thumb? Perhaps it’s just easier to type a string of words without tapping your thumb on the spacebar. If so, you want the computer to sort things out. Autocorrect sometimes does. Until recently, these phrase mashups have been largely ignored by Amy in our online store. She just displayed a message indicating "no match found." Initially, it was assumed that robots (spiders) were improperly generated spaceless phrases.

Our search engine logs failed search queries so we have been able to see an increasing number of such indistinct word mashups. To improve the online experience of those accustomed to hashtag queries, I am happy to report that a significant number of contextual concatenated phrases are now supported within the online store (not the site Search).

Too many breasts: Noting from our site logs that some character transpositions within the word “breasts” were failing the keyword search, the code was modified. However, a coding error prefixed all subsequent manual queries with the word “breast” from June 11-13, 2014. This has been corrected.

Tags on product pages work like hashtags (without the pound sign); they are hypertext links that display related products. To enable hashtag queries within custom searches, we first strip the pound sign. A short description for each product page is stripped of spaces and any visible multi-word keyword tag is also joined. Hence, phrases like #breastcancer or #medicalwallposter or #posterframe now return relevant results when typing such within the Find field.

Tags: online shopping optimization