Search is a very important piece in the SharePoint pie. If you don’t configure it well, it won’t deliver results. People are used to Google and they expect their Digital Workplace Search function to work in the same way.
“Show me the employee that is happy with their enterprise search! Metadata is more important than ever because search is usually a combination of searching and then browsing results: consistent metadata lets us compare and filter results across disparate sources.”
Sam Marshall, Governance Still Matters in a Digital Workplace
SharePoint Search (from SharePoint 2013 onwards, or SharePoint Online) provides several features that will improve your end users’ Search experience:
- Enterprise Keywords: You can create your own set of keywords that you associate with documents and other content. For example, you can associate the enterprise keyword ‘vacation’ with the leave request form, so that people from the US can find the form.
- Search Refiners: These allow your users to further refine search results from the metadata on your documents and pages. By default, the refiners you see include Result type (example values: Excel, Web page, etc.), Author and Modified Date.
- However, you can also add your own refiners. For example, your end users could search for ‘HR Leave Policy’ and see 100 results. They could then refine the results by Doc Type: Policy to see just five results, and then easily select the one they needed.
- Data Visualisation: You can define your own visualisation of the data if you want to. For example, you could create a map as a refiner, instead of simply generating a list of city names.
- Customised Search: You can create a custom Search page to search specific data, then display the results in a particular way.
- Promoted Results: You can create Google-type ads for the pages you want people to visit when they type in a particular term. You can also review Search Reports to see which search terms are popular, and which are causing ‘bounces’ (where people are unhappy with the search results). For example, people might be searching for ‘Finance Results’ and not receiving the content that you know they’re looking for. So you could create a Promoted Result to display on top of the search results for that search term.
- Search Scopes: You can specify where search results will come from to make content more relevant and exclude results that users don’t need. For example, you might want the search results to only come from the main Digital Workplace, rather than from Team Sites.