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 user and the search results.  The information is then used to boost or de-boost documents accordingly.  There are four "click events" which contribute to relevancy.  They are, as named in the ExplainRank.aspx page: QueryLogClicks, QueryLogSkips, LastClicks and EventRate.  The rank log, respectively, names them QLogClicks, QLogSkips, QLogLastClicks and EventRate.  There is another event named ClickDistance, but technically it has nothing to do with click events.  ClickDistance is a boost based on the distance or number of links (could be thought of as clicks) between a document and an authoritative source.
Here are definitions for the four click event relevancy features.
  • QueryLogClicks - A boost based on how often a document is clicked on in search results per query.
  • QueryLogSkips - A de-boost based on how often another document of a lower rank is clicked on, instead of this document, in search results per query.
  • LastClicks - A freshness like boost based on the last time this document was clicked on in a search result.
  • EventRate - A boost based on how often a SharePoint document is clicked or viewed (not in search results). 
Note: EventRate is only tracked automatically for SharePoint documents.  If desired, you can manually track events on external content through the .NET or JavaScript SearchExecutor class.  Here are some links if you are interested in more details.
Comments (3)

  1. MJ says:

    We have an unusual situation where some content types are registering QueryLogClicks and thus getting ranked by the ClickQueryTerms property as well as the usual ranking properties, whilst other content types do not register anything against either of these ranking properties and as a consequence are falling lower down the order. Any ideas why certain content types are not scoring against this out of the box ranking feature and where should focus our efforts?

  2. Sorry, I do not know.  I'm unaware of any "click" tracking based solely on content type.

    1. MJ says:

      In the end there was an issue with our display templates for most of our content types that somehow was blocking the QueryLogClicks value from getting through to the search analytics. As this is one of the more valuable properties to the search score, this meant our search results were being dominated by the content types that were including QueryLogClicks, thus scored correctly, whilst the affected content types were moving lower and lower down the results, despite how much traffic they were getting from the search. No one could figure out what was causing the issue and it was resolved on the affected content types by building new display templates using one of the out of the box ones as a template to begin with. Still no one know what the issue was with the old custom display templates.

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