SharePoint 2013/2016 Search: When standard architecture won’t work for you

Customers often ask, “Will this search architecture work for me?”  What then follows is a screen grab from a TechNet search architecture article that provides examples of architectures for small, medium, large, and extra-large search farms.  The answer to their question is always, “It depends.”  What it depends on is whether you have “standard” or “non-standard” requirements. The…

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Relevant Relevancy Changes in SharePoint 2013 Sept and Oct 2016 CUs

Two recent features were added to the Search Service Application that can have an impact on relevancy.  The features are enabled by the following flags: ResetSynonymWeightToOne and RecallContentOnlyInDefault. According to the CU notes, the flags enable functionality defined as follows: Sept. 2016 CU This update provides a ResetSynonymWeightToOne boolean flag in the Search Service Application, which…

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SharePoint 2013 Search: Even Better Best Bets with Exact Matching

First, full credit goes to Mikael Svenson and Petter Skodvin-Hvammen for the original solution.  This blog details a small modification to Mikael’s “Better Best Bets” blog found here: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/mvpawardprogram/archive/2014/07/21/better-best-bets-with-lists-in-sharepoint-2013.aspx. Today’s blog is a bare-bones, step-by-step process modifying the Better Best Bets solution to do exact matches on keywords.  The “Better Best Bets” solution can only do…

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SharePoint 2013 Search: How clicks change relevancy and rank scoring

If you’ve ever looked at rank log or the ExplainRank.aspx page, you may have noticed that term frequency scoring is only a portion of the total rank score.  There are many other relevancy features which contribute to rank scoring.  Among them are “click events”.  Click events measure the interaction, or lack of interaction, between a…

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SharePoint 2013 Search: Full-Text Index and Context Weight Groups – What is wrong with my rank model?

Note (4/25/16): I’ve updated the recommended context listed at the bottom of this blog based on new information and documentation from the Product Group. In a previous blog, I talked about the important relationship between relevancy, rank models, managed properties, the full-text index (FTI) and context weight groups.  If you are going to doing any…

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SharePoint 2013 Search: People Search – “Why are my results so bad?” Understanding Relevancy, the Rank Model, Full-Text Index, Fuzzy Matching, and Social Distance

I’ve heard this question come up enough now that I think it warrants deeper examination.  Several customers have complained about “bad results” in people search.  They search for Katherine Doe, but the number-one result is for Cathy Smith and it’s ranked higher than the Katherine Doe result.  While this seems like bad relevancy, if we…

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SharePoint 2013 Search: Ranked Result Blocks – The Definitive Answer

I’ve been stumped for a long time on how Ranked Result Blocks really work.  When creating a Result Block, two options are presented: (1) This block is always shown above core results. (2) This block is ranked within core results (may not show).  The first option is self-explanatory.  The block will always show above the…

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SharePoint 2013 Search: Managing Query Rules with PowerShell

One thing I’ve noticed about Query Rules, Search Admins are really good at creating Query Rules… not so good at deleting them.  Query Rules become difficult to manage when the number of rules in the environment grows to several dozen, hundreds or even thousands. As content and relevancy change with time, Query Rules may become invalid or unnecessary.  For example, a…

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SharePoint 2013 Search: Data Normalization using Query Rules and Variables

SharePoint 2013 Search administrators have asked me several times, “How can I match the data XX-YYYY-ZZ when my users enter XXYYYYZZ or XX YYYYZZ?”  One option is to add all the alternate forms to the index, whether in the original source or through Content Enrichment.  Another, and perhaps more manageable, option is to match alternate…

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