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When using Coveo for Sitecore December 2016 or later, see [Coveo for Sitecore 4.0.780+] Using Automatic Boosting.


Automatic Boosting is a feature that can help you personalize your Search components by leveraging information coming from the profiles and patterns. It automatically boosts search results according to the visitor pattern.

If you prefer to disable this feature by default, you can still emulate it using rules (refer to Using Boosting or Filtering Rules on the Search Component Programmatically for more information).

Requirements

This tutorial assumes that:

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Using the Automatic Boosting requires that you have defined Profiles, Profile Cards, and Pattern Cards in your Sitecore instance. Remember to set the minimum and maximum values on every profile key. Items should also have Profile Cards assigned to them if you want them to be boosted.

Enabling Automatic Boosting

In the properties of a Search component, in the Results scope section, the following option is available:

When you select it, the following options appear:

You can see a list of the available profiles and select the ones to which the automatic boosting should apply.

The profiles Focus, Function, Persona, and Score are the default profiles defined in Sitecore. They are generally not relevant.

In this example, the focus will be on the Test profile. When you select it, the following parameters appear:

By default, the boosting influence of the profile is at 100%, but you can adjust it to your needs. 

For example, you could select multiple profiles and set different percentages according to the importance that you give to them.

Understanding How It Works

Automatic Boosting generates Query Ranking Expressions (QREs) in your search, based on the current visitor pattern.

For example, the current visitor pattern identified for the Test profile is called 'Business Visitor,' and is defined this way:

To understand how it works, remember that patterns are a combination of keys. The QREs are based on these keys.

The generated QREs apply the keys percentage value. For example, the value of the Business Visitor for the Practical Key is 3 out of 5, so the percent value is 0.6 (60%).

An additional QRE is performed for what is called the dominant key of the pattern. This is simply the key with the highest value, and with a percent value higher than 0.5 (50%).

In that case, the recognized dominant key would be the Precautious key. This allows us to boost items that correspond to the Business profile.

 

As a result, for this example, the generated QREs look like this :

As you can see, a QRE is generated for each key. The modifier is simply the key percent value multiplied by 100.
You may notice that the QRE percentage value is not exactly a percentage value. For example, for the Practical key, you can see that the value is 0.50 instead of 0.60. This is because of the Advanced Boosting Settings

Advanced Boosting Settings

Three advanced settings are available to help you fine-tune your automatic boosting.

Boosting Weight Range (%)

This is the range applied to the criterion in the QREs. The previous example had this:

The boosting weight range here is impacting the 0.50. If the boosting range is equal to 0, it would have been the original key percent value, in that case 0.60.

Use this if you want to be more or less restrictive about the boosting. A boosting range of 0 means that the items have to match the pattern almost exactly. A higher value means that more items can be impacted by the boosting.

Dominant Keys Boosting Threshold (%)

This is the threshold used for the dominant keys. The previous example had this :

The Precautious key was recognized as the dominant key, so an additional QRE was generated. The boosting threshold apply to the criterion of the QRE. The default value is 50%; that is the 0.50 that appears in the generated QRE.

A higher value means that less search results are impacted by the boosting. For example, only items with a really high value in the dominant key could be impacted.

Dominant Keys Boosting Value

This is the modifier used for the dominant keys. The previous example had this:

The default modifier of a dominant key is 200. A higher value means that search results with a very high value appear first.

Testing the Automatic Boosting

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You may notice that enabling Automatic Boosting does not change anything in your search results ranking. This is most likely because Sitecore has not recognized any visitor pattern yet. A visitor pattern is recognized when visiting pages that correspond to an item with an assigned profile card.

The fastest way to test your automatic boosting is to use the Experience Explorer. Refer to Using the Experience Explorer for more information.

Remember to publish your search page or search component before using it.

Here is an example. The Boaster key was added by 10, and Sitecore recognized the pattern 'Boaster Visitor.' With Automatic Boosting enabled, items with a 'Boaster' profile should appear first, as shown below:

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Note that the generated QREs are based on the pattern card item (Boaster Visitor in that case) and not on the values that you see on the Viewer tab. The Viewer tab simply tells you the keys that have been calculated, but the real pattern is the card itself.

 

Gathering the Ranking Information on Results

If you want more information on the ranking of each result in your result template, you can query for 'enableRankingInformation.' This will enable the ranking logging.

Then, when opening your browser developer console, you can see details of the ranking generated for each result. It is under REST Query successful object > object[3] > results > index of the result rankingInfo.