This blog post is Part 3/3 of blog post series that will help you to get familiar with few concepts and terminologies referred in any search technology. As this blog series is more focused towards ‘Fast Search for SharePoint’ you may see jargon relevant to this.
The following graphic gives ten thousand foot view of what I am trying to capture and explain in this blog post series.
By definition ‘Rank’ is the position in the hierarchy, in the search world ‘Rank’ is the position of the search result item in the result set. For instance, lets consider Bing or Google Search, when you search for ‘shoes’ or ‘vacation’ or in fact any search term you will find lot of search results. The first few results are the one user would click and finally end up being the revenue generators. So it is important to have your website show up in the first few results and is influenced by Rank. Seriously, how many times did you pass the first page of Google search results? So there are various technique that can be used to tune your Ranking. In the Fast Search world we have the following techniques.
7.1 Static/Quality Rank Tuning: URL Depth, Doc Rank, Site Rank, Hard Wired Boost
As the name indicates this the technique works independent of the search term. Which means that you would like to rank items independent of what user searches. Confused? OK, let me go through few examples and you would realize that you can tune Ranking independent of search terms.
URL Depth Ranking:
Observe the below URLs and think about which of the two link, you would prefer to click?
I would choose the second one, because it is more readable, clean and a more friendly URL. The depth of the URL is very less compared to the first one. ‘Depth’ indicates the importance or popularity of the page. The more deep the the page lies with in the site, the less popular the page is. Obviously, you would always highlight your popular pages as your landing or one level below items. Search engines would like to show popular pages and not disliked or unknown pages lying some where deep down in the site.
If you have a page that is referenced across multiple pages, it influences the rank. Pages like these are ranked higher.
This is similar to Doc Rank, the more links pointing the site or items with in the site the site has a higher rank
Hard Wired Boost:
Items can be give static ranking via Powershell and forcefully shown are high rank items
7.2 Dynamic Ranking:
This ranking value is based on query and its relation to the result set. This ranking is based on an multiple techniques/algorithms that influence ranking. Covering those is out of scope of this blog post. Please refer to Tune Dynamic Rank