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Zen Cart Search Helper

Zen Cart Search Helper

Search Helper is a Zen Cart™ contribution which allows a shopowner to auto-correct misspellings in searches and to provide additional search keywords automatically without having to keyword-stuff every product.

This concept is discussed in Linda Bustos' excellent blog post on a "site search thesaurus."

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Relevance: Zen Cart™ 1.3.0 - 1.3.9, 1.5.x

Current Version: 1.1 (version history)

Support Thread: Search Helper Support Thread

Cost: Free, but donation appreciated

Installed Cost: $100 Buy Professional Installation by That Software Guy

Installation Difficulty: Easy-Moderate

Installation Instructions: See README in contrib.

Location: Zen Cart Plugins, under Other Contributions.

Download: Download Search Helper from Zen Cart Plugins

See it Live: Go to this test cart and do a search for Compaq. The results you will get will show HP Printers. This was done using

$this->add_keyword("Compaq", "HP", SEARCH_HELPER_DISPLAY);
If you like the idea of Search Helper but you don't want to modify code, take a look at Search Helper Admin.


This contribution allows you to intercept the advanced search to either correct misspellings or change keywords you don't use to those you do.

In the case of alternate keywords, it also allows you to (optionally) display these words on the product info page of products which use the preferred keyword.

Keywords are specified in the file ./includes/functions/extra_functions/search_helper.php in the function setup(). The syntax of keywords is as follows:

$this->add_keyword(old_keyword, new_keyword, SEARCH_HELPER_DISPLAY|SEARCH_HELPER_NODISPLAY); 
the first parameter, old_keyword, is the keyword you wish to correct in a search. It is either a typo or a synonym of a keyword you use.

the second parameter, new_keyword, is the keyword you wish to use instead of old_keyword.

the third parameter is a flag which indicates whether or not the old keyword should be displayed on your product info page.

So, for example, if you are selling car parts in the US, and your UK clients are searching for "boot" and "bonnet" rather than "trunk" and "hood," you can say

$this->add_keyword("boot", "trunk", SEARCH_HELPER_DISPLAY); 
$this->add_keyword("bonnet", "hood", SEARCH_HELPER_DISPLAY); 

Suppose you are selling winter outdoor equipment, you find your customers are searching for snomobile. To correct this spelling to snowmobile, use

$this->add_keyword("snomobile", "snowmobile", SEARCH_HELPER_NO_DISPLAY); 
If you want to configure Search Helper through your admin panel, take a look at Search Helper Admin.

Major Versions

  • 1.1 08/01/2011 - Updates to fix PHP warnings, improve documentation.
  • 1.0a 03/03/2010 - Updates to documentation
  • 1.0 12/07/2007 - First version


Q: Can I do multiple keyword replaces with Search Helper? For instance, can I replace "blue eyes" with "Sinatra"?
A: This kind of operation is not supported with Search Helper, but it is with Search Helper Admin.

Q: How do I identify frequent misspellings or missing keywords?
A: Using tools like Google Analytics (multiple Zen Cart contributions exist) and Search Log.