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How to Make the Most of SharePoint Search – Continued

Last time we talked about three possible areas of improving SharePoint Search:  

  1. Define Content Authority Sources – allowing users to concentrate their search
  2. Content Promotion – managing content and where it goes
  3. Content Metadata and Ratings – aspects that allow users to refine search results

Now let’s dig a little deeper into the three areas.

Define Content Sources

What if we were able to segment the content into logical groupings and allowed users to select where they wanted to search?  On ebay or amazon, users can select the categories for the search (e.g., electronics).  Defining content sources is a similar concept.  The search sources can be topic related (e.g., People), source related (e.g., the old Z drive), or site related (e.g., Sales).  By segmenting the content population, we allow users to target relevant information by capturing the search intent.

Content Promotion

Now that the content sources have been identified, we can identify certain sources as more permanent in nature, and facilitate a process to promote content to insure content is accurate and relevant.  For content promotion to work correctly, we need a process and someone to manage it.  The process consists of moving content from a non-authoritative content source to an authoritative content source.  This process intends to bubble up content from less permanent sources (e.g., team sites, workspaces, etc.) to more permanent location (e.g. department sites).  

Content Metadata and Ratings

Once search returns relevant results, we can continue to improve the users’ search experience by helping narrow the result set down even further.  Trimming the results is best accomplished through the use of Metadata and Ratings.  When the search results are returned, SharePoint search uses metadata and ratings as facets allowing users to further narrow the search results.  While SharePoint can force user entry of metadata, user ratings on items need an organizational push to gain wide spread adoption and viable use.

SharePoint Search Summary

In summary, search can be a powerful tool and improve worker efficiency by linking users with key corporate information.  An effective user search experience requires a combination of configuration and defined business and operational use.

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