Understanding the Search Hub

The search hub is a key Coveo concept. Most topics pertaining to the search hub will only be tackled later, in the Achieve Relevance section. However, the goals of this article are to bring awareness to the importance of setting custom search hub values while building your search solution and to show you where to do so in your Coveo for Sitecore rendering data sources.

Search Hub Basics

Coveo for Sitecore tags a call to the search API and its associated usage analytics event with a reference to the search interface the query originates from. That tag is called the search hub.

In usage analytics event calls, the search hub value appears in the originLevel1 parameter.

EXAMPLE

In a Coveo for Sitecore search interface, you have set the Search Hub value to MainSearchPage. You type phone in the search box and run the query. The browser developer tools show two calls: the search API call and the call to Coveo Usage Analytics.

Search API and usage analytics calls in the browser developer tools
  1. Call sent to the Search API through the REST endpoint.

  2. Call sent to Coveo Usage Analytics through the REST endpoint.

The search call shows the following headers:

Browser developer tools showing Search API call headers

The usage analytics call shows the following headers:

Browser developer tools showing usage analytics call headers

Search Hub Uses

The search hub value is a critical piece of information for search consumption tracking, analytics reporting, in feeding Coveo Machine Learning (Coveo ML) models, and gaining relevance from these models.

Monitoring Search Consumption

Your Coveo Platform license defines a limit on the monthly number of Search API calls for your organization. Performing a keyword search counts against this quota, but other user actions also trigger Search API calls (see Query Types). Moreover, calls to the Search API can originate from various locations in your search solution, and even from the Coveo Administration Console. Your organization Consumption Dashboard lets you monitor query usage on a per search hub basis.

Consumption dashboard
  1. Searches performed in the Coveo Administration Console are registered under the AdminConsole search hub.

Analytics Reporting

Content and search managers want to monitor the effectiveness of each of their search interfaces using metrics based on calls to Coveo Usage Analytics. In turn, they can use the insights derived from these metrics to carry out changes to their search interfaces, their query pipelines, or to the indexed content (see the articles in the Leverage Coveo Usage Analytics Coveo Cloud documentation section).

The Analytics section of the Coveo Administration Console navigation menu contains a wide array of reports and graphics, many of which you can filter on a search hub basis.

Image showing Administration Console Content Gaps report
  1. Use the Origin 1 (Page/Hub) filter in the Coveo Cloud Administration reports to select a specific search hub.

To get good analytics metrics, you need large amounts of good data. This is achieved by setting your search hub values early and properly.

Machine Learning Driven Features

Typical Coveo-powered search solutions include multiple search interfaces that may be used by different audiences and for different purposes. For example, a Coveo search solution may contain the following search interfaces:

  • a customer-facing community search page

  • an internal support agent insight panel

Since audience and audience intent differ on these two types of search interfaces, a given query shouldn’t yield the exact same results (and in the same order) on both. Indeed, when you properly set up your search solution to use Coveo Machine Learning, a model associated with the community search page will gather user behavior analytics far different from the ones gathered by a model associated with the support agent insight panel. That’s why Coveo separates ML models and submodels based on the search hub value (see Sub-Models).

Whether for Automatic Relevance Tuning (ART), Query Suggestions (QS), or Dynamic Navigation Experience (DNE), the effectiveness of a Coveo ML model driven feature depends on the amount and quality of usage analytics data gathered, and that begins with properly setting your search hub values (see Leverage Machine Learning).

Setting the Search Hub

By default, when you don’t specify a Search Hub value, Coveo for Sitecore sets a default value.

For example:

  • When you insert the Coveo for Sitecore Analytics rendering in a Coveo Search Interface and don’t specify a value in the Coveo for Sitecore Analytics data source Search Hub field, Coveo for Sitecore sets the Search Hub to the name of the search page item.

  • When you insert the Coveo Global Searchbox rendering in an article header and don’t specify a value in the Coveo Global Searchbox data source Override search hub field, Coveo for Sitecore sets the Search Hub value used for the global search box query suggestion calls to the name of the search page item the global search box redirects its queries to.

Hence, specifying custom search hub values in some data source fields and leaving some others blank breaks the analytics-search search hub matches you need to fully leverage machine learning.

Specify custom search hub values in all data sources which contain search hub value fields to ensure meaningful search hub names and analytics-search search hub matches.

Setting the Search Hub In a Multi-Rendering Coveo for Sitecore Search Page

Whether you build a Coveo for Sitecore search page one rendering at a time or fast-track your way to a multi-rendering search page by inserting an Example Search Page, you need to insert the Coveo for Sitecore Analytics rendering in your Sitecore search page item. You set the Search Hub value in the Coveo for Sitecore Analytics data source.

Image showing where to set search hub value in data source

Setting the Search Hub In a Coveo Hosted Search Page

Coveo for Sitecore supports integrating a Coveo Platform search page in a Sitecore item through the Example Hosted Search Page branch template. When you insert a branch from this template, a data source item is added as the deepest child of the branch. This data source contains the Search Hub field.

Image showing data source of an Example Hosted Search Page branch

You may want to insert a Coveo Global Searchbox rendering in your website article headers and have this global search box provide query suggestions as the user types.

Set the Override search hub value in the Coveo Global Searchbox data source to match the search hub value of the search interface whose query suggestions you want to use.

Image showing override search hub field in global searchbox data source

Setting the Search Hub When Using Server-Side Code to Call the Search API

Surfacing index data using direct server-side calls to the Search API should be done parsimoniously. This method not only involves writing code but it also doesn’t log usage analytics search events.

If you’re going to use this approach, you should tag your searches using the SearchHub property of the Coveo.Framework.SearchService framework QueryParams class, as illustrated in the Calling the Coveo Search API Using Server-Side Code code sample. This lets you either leverage machine learning acquired by the model associated with the given search hub or track your search consumption on a dedicated search hub name.

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