Heterogeneous Network Embedding for Deep Semantic Relevance Match in E-commerce Search

Result relevance prediction is an essential task of e-commerce search engines to boost the utility of search engines and ensure smooth user experience. The last few years eyewitnessed a flurry of research on the use of Transformer-style models and deep text-match models to improve relevance. However, these two types of models ignored the inherent bipartite network structures that are ubiquitous in e-commerce search logs, making these models ineffective. We propose in this paper a novel Second-order Relevance, which is fundamentally different from the previous First-order Relevance, to improve result relevance prediction. We design, for the first time, an end-to-end First-and-Second-order Relevance prediction model for e-commerce item relevance. The model is augmented by the neighborhood structures of bipartite networks that are built using the information of user behavioral feedback, including clicks and purchases. To ensure that edges accurately encode relevance information, we introduce external knowledge generated from BERT to refine the network of user behaviors. This allows the new model to integrate information from neighboring items and queries, which are highly relevant to the focus query-item pair under consideration. Results of offline experiments showed that the new model significantly improved the prediction accuracy in terms of human relevance judgment. An ablation study showed that the First-and-Second-order model gained a 4.3% average gain over the First-order model. Results of an online A/B test revealed that the new model derived more commercial benefits compared to the base model.

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