11 min read

Boost and bury products with Query Ranking

Query Ranking management tool in the Empathy Platform Playboard allows you to boost and bury products or product attribute values to modify product position after the search query is entered, on both the search engine results page (SERP) and product category pages (PCP).


Products' position can be boosted or buried, increasing or decreasing their final score by giving more points to a certain product attribute value (soft boosting or burying) or the product itself to place it on the first or last position on the SERP (hard boosting or burying). Refer to Attribute Ranking or Product Ranking respectively to find more details.

New Query Ranking interface

From version 4.0.0, Empathy Platform Playboard supports two views for the Query Ranking management tool. You can choose which interface view to use via the Playboard - Features section from the Instance Management Console. Contact your Key Account Manager if you want to change the interface view.

Getting started with Query Ranking management tool

When you access the Query Ranking management tool, you view a list of all existing query ranking configurations for the instance. If you have not created any configurations, the list contains no rows.

List view of Query Ranking

List view of the Query Ranking management tool - (A) Filters and search, (B) Action tools, (C) Query Ranking list, (D) Row selector, and (E) Page navigation options.

The list table displays the details of the query ranking configurations (C):

  • Name: the identifying name for the configuration.
  • Queries: the initial query or queries that shoppers must use to display product results.
  • Language: the language set up for your implementation.
  • Modified: the boosting, burying, or both settings established for the query ranking configuration—attributes or products settings. Settings are highlighted in bold when used.
  • Updated on/by: the date and time when the last changes were made to the configuration and the person who performed these changes. You can sort the results by date with the Updated on field.
  • Status: the status of the configuration. It shows whether the configuration is turned on or off.

Use the filters and search box (A) of the configuration list view to find the query ranking configuration you need. When using the search box, you can search for strict matching results to get results that match exactly the query you entered. You can choose to have non-strict matching results, including either the configurations whose name matches exactly or partially your query terms.

You can select the number of configurations to be displayed in the list with the row selector (D) in the bottom left corner of the screen. You can navigate to other pages in the configuration list using the page navigation options (E) in the bottom right corner of the screen.

To add a new configuration from the list screen, select the + NEW button. To edit an existing configuration, click its row and the edition screen will open. To edit or clone one configuration, or delete, turn on or off several configurations, select the checkbox next to the corresponding configurations and use the action tools (B) or the options displayed on the three-dot icon on the left.

Working with the new Query Ranking interface?

If you're working with the new QR interface, you may notice that the Modified column now includes the icon related to the Pinned products functionality.

Creating a query ranking configuration

To add a new configuration from the list screen, click the + NEW button.

Query Ranking configuration panel

Edit view of the Query Ranking management tool - (A) Details, (B) Settings, and (C) Preview.

The details (A) area is used to set up whether the configuration is turned on and running for the queries, filters, and settings you're establishing. Also, you define a name and the filters that set the specific context for your configuration. Depending on your implementation, you have different segments to filter by, such as language, country, store, device, etc. Last, you enter the query or queries your configuration relates to.

The Query Ranking settings (B) is where you can boost or bury product attribute values and where configurations established for both product attribute values and products are listed. Boost or bury attribute values to softly modify the product positioning on the SERP. However, if you want to hardly modify the product positioning and send a product to the first or last position of the SERP, boost or bury it directly in the preview area. In addition, if you want to boost or bury multiple products at once, use the Quick Boosting button from the product's settings.


Refer to the Boost and bury multiple products with Quick Boosting guide to get more information on how to boost or bury several products at a time.

The preview (C) area presents a visualization of the product results that are returned by the search engine once you enter a query, allowing you to check instantly the outcome while you define the boosting and burying of products and product attribute values. The preview displays a thumbnail of the product and the product name. When hovering over, you see the complete name, the product ID, and the Boost and Bury buttons.

If you add more than one query for your configuration, you can switch between them to see the results based on each query. Also, you can search for a specific product among the results by adding terms to the query or by adding directly the product ID. In addition, you can narrow down the results by date range—since configurations can be scheduled.

Working with the new Query Ranking interface?

The new Query Ranking interface includes four sections instead of three: Details, Filters, Settings, and Preview. The main differences are:

  • The new ID field from the Details section is automatically filled in when you create a new configuration. You can copy it for A/B testing in your preferred testing tool.
  • Filters have been moved from the Details section to a separate one, but they still work the same.
  • For both Attributes and Products settings, use the + (plus) icon to add a new boost or bury configuration. You still can boost or bury products directly from the Preview section.
  • Instead of using the Quick Boosting button, you now use the + (plus) icon in the Products settings section to add the IDs of all the products you want to boost or bury at a time.
  • The new Pinned products functionality allows you to pin a product in a specific position within the first page of the SERP. This way, the organically assigned position for this product is modified and replaced by the configured one. For example, a product organically placed in position 35 will appear in position 7 if you pin it to be there.
    Consider that you cannot boost or bury products that have already been pinned in a certain position or place two products in the same position. However, you can modify, schedule, or preview your pinned products as you do when boosting or buring them.

To create a soft query ranking configuration (attribute ranking):

  1. Decide whether the configuration is turned on or off (A). Switch the toggle button if you want the equalize configuration to be off for now.


    If you turn off the configuration, you can turn it on later on using the action tools in the query ranking list screen.

  2. Enter a name and select the filters (A) to customize the scenario for your configuration (for example, language: English). Filters are determined by your implementation.

  3. Define the query or queries (A) your configuration relates to.

  4. In the Attributes Settings section (B), soft boost or bury product attribute values based on your business strategy preferences.

    a. Expand the attributes’ settings.
    b. Select a product attribute and enter a value for it.
    c. Click either the Boost or Bury button and your configuration will be automatically added to the list.

  5. In the attributes list, you can apply a schedule to your configuration. Go to the Fine-tuning product boost and bury settings section to learn how to do it.

  6. Select a query in the Preview section (C) and add a term to narrow down the results, if desired. You can also select a date to preview the results and check in real time the position of the products in the results list based on the settings you configured. Results are updated automatically when you modify your configuration.

  7. Once finished, click Save.

To create a hard query ranking configuration (product ranking):

  1. Follow steps 1 to 3 previously detailed for attribute ranking configurations.
  2. In the Preview section (C), hover over a product's thumbnail in the results list and click the Boost or Bury button. The product is added automatically to the Products Settings section and sent to the first or last position on the SERP preview.
  3. In the products list, you can apply a schedule to your configuration. Go to the Fine-tuning product boost and bury settings section to learn how to do it.
  4. Follow steps 6 and 7 previously detailed to complete your product ranking configuration.


You can boost or bury multiple products with the product IDs at a time with Quick Boosting.

Fine-tuning product boost and bury settings

In the attribute and product lists of the Settings section, you find an Edit (pencil) icon to modify the configurations you are creating or editing. By clicking, the Edit panel appears on the right allowing you to add a specific schedule to be applied. Once added, it's identified with the Calendar icon on the list. If you hover over the icon, you view the details of the schedule that affects the product.

You can also reorder the settings configured to determine the order in which a boosted or buried setting affects the product ranking by dragging and dropping the configuration on the list. The higher the setting is on the list, the more points are added or subtracted to the product scoring.

Scheduling boosted or buried products

Query Ranking lets you set a date and range for which the boost or bury is applied. There are four types of schedule:

  • Always active: Attribute values or products are boosted or buried for an indefinite period.
    For example, you may want to display a specific product always at the top of the results page for merchandising reasons.
  • Start date and end date: Attribute values or products are boosted or buried for the period selected. After the period has passed, the product is ranked according to the organic query relevancy.
    For example, you may want to boost soft drinks during the summer season but want these products to return to the standard ranking after this period.
  • Start date only: Attribute values or products are boosted or buried from the date selected.
    For example, you may want to set up an “always active” product boost to be applied at a future date.
  • End date only: Attribute values or products are boosted or buried until the date selected. For example, you may want to promote sales of a specific brand for the next two weeks by listing it at the top of the results for the query.

To add a schedule to a boost or bury:

  1. Click the Edit icon beside the setting in the attribute or product list.

  2. Select the Scheduled option.

  3. In the Active from and Active to fields, use the date picker to choose a start date and time and an end date and time (if required).

  4. Click Accept.


Attribute values or products cannot have conflicting schedules for the same query. For example, if you set up a product to be always boosted, you cannot boost the same product for the date range “01/03/2022 – 04/04/2022”.

Previewing boosted and buried products

The Preview (C) section displays the results for the query selected, including those products you have boosted or buried. Boosted or buried products are highlighted with a green or red footer and an up or down arrow icon, respectively. The preview is updated when you finish your configuration settings.

If you have applied a boost schedule, you can select a date to preview how the products are ordered on that date.

Boosting products for no-result queries

Sometimes shoppers face situations when a query they're looking for return low results or no results at all. To avoid shoppers' frustration, you can create Query Ranking configurations that show products you have previously boosted in the SERP.

To boost products when a query returns no or low results:

  1. Follow steps 1 and 2 previously detailed in the Creating a query ranking configuration section.
  2. Define the query or queries (A) returning no or low results you want to boost products for with this configuration.
  3. Expand the Products Settings section of the Query Ranking management tool and click the Quick Boosting button. A window appears and there you can boost or bury the products. You can cancel the action by clicking outside the window or clicking the X icon.
  4. Determine the schedule to apply for the boost, if required. For example, you add a schedule “02/05/2023 12:00 AM to 05/06/2023 12:00 AM”. Otherwise, select the Always active option.
  5. Enter the product IDs for all the products to be boosted to be returned for the query with no or low results. To enter more than one product ID, use ; as a separator. For example, enter “3397;3398;3399” to boost products with IDs 3397, 3398, and 3399.
  6. Click Boost to place the product first in the results list.
  7. When the Quick Boosting window closes, check that all products appear in the Settings panel and click Save to keep the configuration.