How Sharepoint ranks a document in Search Results?

Several times I have been asked about the way Sharepoint calculates the rank of a document in document search. Although, it is based on a complex probablistic algorithm developed by Microsft Researcher, following are some simple tips to know the background of search ranking and how to tune the search results. Please note, these tips are not an authentic statements from Microsoft, instead they are my observations and knowledge gained from other fellow Sharepoint experts.

According to Microsoft on Technet in this article

Ranking depends on:

  • The length of the document
  • The frequency of the query term in the entire collection of documents
  • The number of documents containing the query term
  • The number of documents in the entire collection of documents
     

Keeping the above points in mind, following observations have been made as mentioned in this blog

  • Higher size of the document = lower ranking
  • More frequent the keyword matched in a document = higher ranking
  • Deeper URL surf depth = lower ranking
  • Authoritative pages in SP = higher ranking
  • Default views seem to get ranked higher than individual item views
  • File types seem to affect ranking (.doc > .txt for instance)
  • Language seems to affect ranking, US-EN is always higher, even though your server installation may have french as it’s default language
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