What is Approximate String Matching?

Our team has recently completed some work on a project involving website search and fuzzy matching, also known as Approximate String Matching.

Approximate String Matching matching (aka Fuzzy Matching) is a useful technique which helps to identify different elements of text or entries which are similar but not exactly the same. This technique can be used within website and application search to improve the quality and accuracy of data.
For example, this may be helpful if a business has a webpage where they allow visitors to browse through various job vacancies. 
If someone were to search for ‘sales assistant’ vacancies, the fuzzy matching could be set up to show other relevant job titles such as ‘customer sales advisor’ or ‘customer support associate’. 
It could also help with any typos, if the website visitor were to type the wrong spelling, the search function would then show results for the correct spelling. 
There are two key benefits that we get with Elasticsearch:

  1. It removes the ‘exact text’ matching issue that occurs in typical search set ups, where we only have a match if the exact phrase you entered is there.

  2. It facilitates our searching of PDF documents, as we can directly add them to our search index and link directly to them from the search results data.

“Elasticsearch is a game changer in the usefulness of search within our apps. ”

Henry Bevan

Full-Stack Senior Developer

Take a look at our client success stories to get an idea of other projects our team has been involved in.
You can read more about the company values that help us attract talented developers like Henry to our team by clicking here.


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