Creating search rules to promote specific results

In this task, you create a search rule to manipulate the ordering of search results. Search rules are triggered when customers search the storefront to deliver customized search results and ordering.

Search rules are typically used to promote specific catalog entries by displaying them on the first page of the search results, or to order catalog entries according to a specific attribute, such as price. However, since search rules are highly customizable they can be used to merchandise in various creative ways.

For this example, imagine you have identified a potential market segment who often search for coffee machines, but are actually looking to purchase both coffee and espresso machines. You also find that this segment primarily shops on your site during their lunch hour, between 12 PM and 1 PM. Unfortunately, no other criteria about this market segment has been identified.

Instead of creating a synonym that modifies this search at all hours of the day, we create a search rule that targets these individuals by including both espresso and coffee makers in search results, only during the one hour window in which they shop. Shoppers browsing the site during other hours of the day remain unaffected.


  1. Create a search rule:
    1. Open the Marketing tool.
    2. From the toolbar, click the arrow on the right side of Add newArrow Create New; then select Search rule.
      The New Search rule template window opens.
    3. In the left pane, click the name of the folder containing the template you want to use. The Custom Templates folder contains any templates you have created.
      For this example, use the Add or Replace Search Criteria template under Standard Templates.
    4. Enter a name under the General Properties tab to identify your new rule.

      For example, name your new rule coffee/espresso lunch hour.

  2. Define the properties of the search query that is entered by your identified market segment:
    1. Click the Customer Submits Search icon Customer Submits Search.
    2. Set the matching rule to be Search phrase contains one of the following words.
    3. Create a Search term by clicking the new icon New
    4. Enter the word coffee as the search term.
    This way, the search that is entered can contain any number of extra words such as machine or maker. It is modified regardless of these extraneous terms, on the condition that it contains the word coffee.
  3. Add a Date and Time target to limit the rule to the specified hour:
    1. On the left menu, under the Target section, click and drag the Date and Time target iconDate and Time onto the line between Customer Submits SearchCustomer Submits Search and Add or Replace Search CriteriaAdd or Replace Search Criteria.
    2. Open the Date and Time target parameters by clicking the Date and Time target iconDate and Time.
    3. Set the time that the search rule is active by setting the Start time and End time. You can enter this information manually, by typing in 12:00 PM to 01:00 PM, or by selecting these times with the Select a Time Select a Time.
    With this target added the rule applies to searches within the specified time period. If you know more about the customer segment that you are targeting, you can add extra target logic before or after this target. This extended logic can help filter out customers who using your website at the same time as your targeted segment.
  4. Select the action that is performed by the search rule:
    1. Click the Add or Replace Search Criteria iconAdd or Replace Search Criteria.
    2. Select the Replace search criteria action.
    3. Input your replacement search term.
      For example, coffee espresso.
    By specifying a replacement term, and not just an appended term, you can better test and control the results that are generated for your targeted segment. If you want results to be further filtered by other search terms (for example, the terms machine or grinder), use the Add search critera action.
  5. Click Save; then click Close.
    Your search rule is now saved, but is left inactive.
  6. Activate your search rule:
    1. From the explorer view on the left, select Search Rules.
      Here you find a list of all active and inactive search rules.
    2. Right click the search rule and select Activate.
      The rule is now active, as indicated by the green circle in the status column.


Test your rule by using Store Preview Store Preview. Set a specific date and time to observe your store by using the expanded Options window. Set the date. The specific date does not matter because the Date and Time target parameters only included a time restriction. Set the time to 12:00 PM and click Launch Store Preview.

Enter coffee into the Quick Search and observe the results. With the example rule active, 30 results are displayed in the Aurora starter store, including a small set of espresso-only machines. With the rule disabled, or by previewing the store outside of the 12 PM to 1 PM time target, 26 results are displayed.