2020: Hitchhikers Year in Review

Author: Liz Frailey, VP Developer & Admin Experience
Blog Date: December 2020

2020 has been a rollercoaster of a year for everyone for a multitude of reasons. On the Hitchhikers Team, we were able to overcome some of the year's obstacles to really transform the program. The pandemic motivated our team to accelerate the development of Hitchhikers so that we could make the Training & Community available to people externally and internally faster. We challenged ourselves to accomplish even more than what we thought possible — and looking back, it's hard to comprehend how we did it all!

In January, 2020, our team had just begun to think about the training. Our number one goal was to provide training that could help Hitchhikers around the world be successful in building amazing search experiences with Yext. We started hosting some impromptu live training sessions internally on our different products, testing out what topics to cover, understanding what questions people were asking, and playing around with ways to test knowledge using quizzes and hands-on challenges. Our digital platform at hitchhikers.yext.com was just starting to come to life and we were showing it off internally at both our Engineering and our Product & Strategy annual offsites.

By March, we had started to offer a 90-day Answers Free Trial to customers. We needed to train more people internally and externally on how to do this, which accelerated our timeline for getting this training, and the product, ready. We started to provide access to some folks internally to the training, getting feedback from people all over the globe.

In July, we launched our Hitchhikers Private Beta, where we gave access to the site to over 800 people from brands and partners around the world. We solicited feedback on all parts of the platform, including the Community, the Training, Office Hours, Events, and our Blog.

So many of you responded so quickly and positively, allowing us to shorten our Beta and publicly launch Hitchhikers in September 2020. In that time, we added things like Curriculums and Guides as additional resources to hone your administrator skills, as well as the ability to do things like share your Badge or Curriculum completion on social media platforms.

In October, November and December, we doubled down on everything:

  • Added more solution templates for verticals like Higher Ed and Professional Services
  • Hosted a number of Answers & Pages Hyperspeed Workshops
  • Added an additional Curriculum for Reviews Admin
  • Added more Guides, like how to integrate with Adobe Analytics
  • Hosted more webinars, like our Pages Tips & Tricks webinar
  • Added a new training track for Multi-Language Experiences
  • Hosted a Hackathon with Partner extraordinaire CapGemini
  • Launched our Fall '20 seasonal release, as well as our first monthly release in December '20

We couldn't be more excited about what 2021 will bring. The Hitchhikers Team is taking a much needed break and we will return in the new year ready to make 2021 a bigger, better and more transformative year than 2020. Look out for things like:

  • A new and improved Developer site
  • 10-12 new product releases with enhancements to our Product suite
  • More hands-on Events like Hackathons
  • More Workshops, Guides, and Training resources to make you all even better experts
  • More Webinars and Experiences with thought-leaders and industry-changers

As 2020 comes to a close and 2021 begins, our number one goal stays the same: help Hitchhikers around the world to be successful in building amazing search experiences. As always, if you have any questions or feedback, do not hesitate to reach out via our Community or to hitchhikers-support@yext.com.

Happy Holidays and Happy Hitchhiking from our team to yours!

All Blog Posts

Determine Location Intent in a Search Engine

Max Shaw, VP Product

One of the most common use cases for a search engine is finding something by a "location". Here are some basic examples: Cardiologist near Green Bay, Notary near me, Restaurants open now. These are all pretty simple queries, but getting these to work in a search engine is much more complex than you might imagine.

4 Methods for Increasing Site Search Clicks

Rick Swette, UX Research

We know good search drives business impact. It increases conversions and transactions, reduces search bounce rate, and boosts overall customer satisfaction. So, how do we get more people to trust and use site search? We embarked on a study to find this out.

How to Measure the Success of Your Site Search

Basil Polsonetti, Data Insights

Most brands know that site search is a feature their website should have, but unless the site is dominated by e-commerce, it’s often relegated as a check-the-box task when building a new website.

The Danger in Document-Level Sentiment Analysis

Calvin Casalino, Senior Product Manager

In order for your feedback to become an actionable item to help businesses provide a better experience, they need a way to analyze the granular content of all of their reviews, at scale.

Deep Dive into Duplicate Suppression

Dee Luo, Product Manager

Brands know the importance of having accurate information across all the apps, maps, and directories where consumers are searching for information. In a perfect world, powering that brand data and managing each of these listings would be enough to ensure that consumers consistently get the answers they're searching for.

Yext Answers Algorithm Update: Milky Way

Max Shaw, VP Product

Yext Answers is constantly improving it’s search algorithm to provide more relevant results over time. Milky Way is the first official upgrade to the Answers Algorithm and includes a series of important upgrades to provide better search precision and recall.

GMB API Update - Dedicated Food Menus

Dee Luo, Product Manager

On August 24, 2020, Google launched version 4.7 of its Google My Business (GMB) API. This update includes enhancements to how your restaurant locations can sync and display food menus on Google.

Structuring Your Knowledge Graph

Jessie Yorke, Yext Administrator

In this post we are going to discuss strategy and give you some tools to effectively think about structuring your own brand's Knowledge Graph!

Welcome to the Hitchhikers Program

Liz Frailey, VP Developer & Admin Experience

Welcome to Hitchhikers! We are so excited to have you join our mission of creating amazing search experiences for brands of all sizes.

Introducing: Yext Answers Plugin for WordPress

Alex Barbet, Product

Businesses of all sizes use both WordPress and Yext to build amazing client experiences, and as more and more brands around the world add the Yext Answers bar to their WordPress powered sites, we wanted to provide a way to drive their time-to-value even faster.

Yext’s Fall ‘20 Release is Now Live!

Nick Oropall, Senior Product Marketing Manager

For those of you who are new to Hitchhikers — Welcome to Yext's new training platform & community! Hitchhikers will be the home for all of Yext's product and release updates moving forward so we encourage you to create a free user and check out the platform!

Meet the Hitchhikers Team: Alyssa Hubbard

Alyssa Hubbard

Alyssa Hubbard began at Yext in the Upward Rotational Program. Now she is full-time on the Hitchhikers team, working to build a platform to empower our community of Yext power users.

Yext Answers Algorithm Update: Andromeda

Allie Allegra, Senior Product Marketing Manager

We are constantly making improvements to the underlying Answers algorithm. Our latest algorithm release, Andromeda, includes cutting edge improvements that optimize the overall search experience. With this release, our algorithm now has the ability to search semi-structured data. You can now opt-in to access these improvements depending on your configuration.

WCAG and Search: Developing an Accessible Search Experience

Rose Grant, Associate Product Manager

What’s WCAG? WCAG stands for the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). WCAG is not always black and white; its rules often have a variety of interpretations.

Now Available: Shopify Product Catalog Sync for Yext

Lilly Fast, Senior Business Development Manager

Shoppers have questions about your products, and your ability to answer will determine if they buy or if they bounce. But with rapid changes to your business, it can be hard to keep your product information consistently up-to-date.

Now Available: Yext Product Catalog Sync for Magento Commerce, an Adobe Company

Lilly Fast, Senior Business Development Manager

Shoppers have questions about your products, and your ability to answer will determine if they buy or if they bounce. But with rapid changes to your business, it can be hard to keep your product information consistently up-to-date.

A New Way to Search FAQS

Max Davish, Associate Product Manager

Semantic search is a new way of searching for FAQs. Instead of looking at keywords, it measures the similarity in meaning between two questions. Answers does this using BERT - the same revolutionary natural language processing technology that powers other Answers features like location detection and entity recognition.

How to Build Discoverable and High-Converting Landing Pages

Sonia Elavia, Senior Product Marketing Manager

Search is a massively important marketing channel. Fifty-three percent of website traffic comes from organic search, so it’s critical that businesses optimize for these experiences. But how do you actually build out a strong presence in organic search? Having search-optimized landing pages is critical.

Exporters: From Yext to Your Listings

Calvin Casalino, Senior Product Manager

Our Listings delivery pipeline ensures your data stored in the Knowledge Graph appears on Listings everywhere consumers are asking questions. How do we make sure your data is updated on all publishers as quickly as possible while still ensuring data is formatted properly for each endpoint? Yext’s Listings exporters.

2020: Hitchhikers Year in Review

Liz Frailey, VP Developer & Admin Experience

2020 has been a rollercoaster of a year for everyone for a multitude of reasons. On the Hitchhikers Team, we were able to overcome some of the year's obstacles to really transform the program.

Understanding the Answers Algorithm

Pierce Stegman, Data Scientist & Michael Misiewicz, Data Science Manager

See for yourself how the Answers algorithm works on the Understanding the Answers Algorithm site built by our Data Science team!

A Type System for Knowledge Graph Entities

Oscar Li, Software Engineering Lead

Our type system serves as the foundation of the Knowledge Graph by dictating the structure, validation, and display of fields. The type system guarantees the consistency and correctness of any field value retrieved from the Knowledge Graph. This makes it easier for our engineers to reason about code that handles particular fields, for our customers to manage their entity data, and for our publishers to trust the quality of our data.

3 Integrations That Can Help You Get More Out of Yext

Jonathan Gitlin, Content Marketing Manager, Workato

As a Yext user, you’re likely well aware of the platform’s product suite and the value each solution delivers. But did you know that you can provide even better search results for visitors, collect more reviews from customers, and analyze data more closely by integrating Yext with the apps and systems your team already uses?

Google’s Latest API Update: More Hours

Teddy Riker, Associate Product Manager

On February 25th, 2021, Google launched version 4.9 of its Google My Business (GMB) API. This update includes support for additional hours types, for options such as delivery, drive through, and more.

Spring ‘21 Release is Now Live!

Nick Oropall, Senior Manager of Platform Product Marketing

Yext's seasonal releases are always packed with new features and functionality to keep Hitchhikers on the cutting edge of search, and the Spring '21 Release is no different. Across the product suite, we have added new features that will help you to drive value and improve your user experience.