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Site Search and
Relevance
Make your content easy to find
FOR A VARIETY OF USERS
Search Is
Important
● Users without domain
knowledge
● Task-oriented or
transactional visitors
Tweet Today:
If a person can not find what they need from
your site? It is as if it wasn’t there.
If a person can not find what they need from
your site? It is as if it wasn’t there.
If a person can not find what they need from
your site? It is as if it wasn’t there.
Photo:
https://unsplash.com/@brucemars
@Blackamazon
Search API:
Fields
A Word About Field Indexing in Solr
● Fulltext: for relevance
● String or integer: for facets
Possible to index a field more than once!
Photo:
https://unsplash.com/@brucemars
Photo:
https://unsplash.com/@brucemars
Boost Important Fields
● Matches in key fields weighted higher
● Usually title, perhaps also sku, others
Photo:
https://unsplash.com/@brucemars
Photo:
https://unsplash.com/@brucemars
Rendered HTML Output
● Add to fields as a quick way to render all
content, especially for Fulltext inclusion
● Saves individually configuring many fields,
building in relationships to other entities, etc
● Loss of ability to tune relevance per field
○ Could use new display mode, spec
priority fields separately
Photo:
https://unsplash.com/@brucemars
Photo:
https://unsplash.com/@brucemars
Referenced entities
● Taxonomy terms, users, etc
● By default will index ID values instead of
labels
○ Useful for facets, less so for relevance
Photo:
https://unsplash.com/@brucemars
Photo:
https://unsplash.com/@brucemars
Search API:
Processors
HTML Filter
● Prevent HTML tags from being indexed
● Typically on body content or Rendered
HTML Output
● Also options to boost relevance for
specific tags such as headings
Photo:
https://unsplash.com/@brucemars
Photo:
https://unsplash.com/@brucemars
Ignore characters
● Prevent punctuations and similar
characters from impeding matches
● Also transliteration of accented
characters
Photo:
https://unsplash.com/@brucemars
Photo:
https://unsplash.com/@brucemars
Highlight
● Display an excerpt of results text, with matches
bolded
○ Similar to Google’s result structure
● Can display unexpected formatting, especially
when using stemming
○ Solution: highlight with an aggregated field
of all content, index as FullText Unstemmed
Photo:
https://unsplash.com/@brucemars
Photo:
https://unsplash.com/@brucemars
Parse Modes
● Part of the view configuration
● Default is very fault tolerant
● Direct query allows for modifiers e.g. + or - on keywords
○ Easy to break
● Fuzziness: characters can be off per word
● Sloppiness: keywords can be apart
● As you change the parse mode, a description provided
Photo:
https://unsplash.com/@brucemars
Photo:
https://unsplash.com/@brucemars
Manipulating
Results
Type-specific Boosting
● Available OOTB in recent versions of
Search API Solr
● Increased relevance based in bundle /
content type
Photo:
https://unsplash.com/@brucemars
Photo:
https://unsplash.com/@brucemars
Boosting Recent Content
● Currently requires custom code
● https://www.drupal.org/docs/8/modules/search-a
pi-solr/search-api-solr-howtos/boosting-by-date
● https://www.hashbangcode.com/article/drupal-8-
date-search-boosting-search-api-and-solr-search
Photo:
https://unsplash.com/@brucemars
“Search Keywords” Field
● Give editors the ability to manually specify
keywords to add relevance
● Boost to prioritize field, higher than body
● Typically hide in view mode
● Allows editors to add relevance but not
remove it
○ No ability to rank results
Photo:
https://unsplash.com/@brucemars
Photo:
https://unsplash.com/@brucemars
Search Overrides Modules
● Allow editors to promote and remove
content for specific queries
● Option to manually rank promoted
content
Photo:
https://unsplash.com/@brucemars
Additional
Concepts
Relevance is a Process, Not a Destination
● Periodically review popular searches
○ Have an SME evaluate the quality of results
○ Determine what improvements can be made
algorithmically vs curating results
● Abandoned searches a metric to evaluate search
result quality
Photo:
https://unsplash.com/@brucemars
Context-specific Searches
● Give visitors the ability to search a subset of content
○ Potentially specialized facets and other
functionality
● Examples
○ Product search
○ FAQ knowledgebase
○ Program finder (Higher Ed)
Photo:
https://unsplash.com/@brucemars
Discussion
Thank you.

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