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Weights

Weights are for fine tuning search relevance. They can ensure that your visitors find the right thing when using search.

Before laying out instructions, there are three key terms to understand:

  • Engine: Your search engine. An Engine contains one or more DocumentTypes, DocumentTypes contain many fields.

  • Field: When your webpages are indexed they are broken down into a set of fields. Each field will contain a value like the title of your webpage, the body content, the url, and more. You can control which fields are added during indexing by adding Site Search Meta Tags.

  • DocumentType: Your Engine can contain multiple DocumentTypes which allow you to create different sets of fields. For example, your Engine may contain books, magazines, and videos -- given that each would require a different set of fields, each would have its own DocumentType. Multiple DocumentTypes are optional -- you may only have one, the default, which is known as page. It represents a webpage.

Weights allow you to provide fields with a value between 1 and 10. By default, each field will have a weight of 1 and each field will carry the same weight. That means that during search, your keywords will match equally across all fields. Altering a field's weight above 1 will increase its significance.

You can see how this might not be ideal. Consider that we have an article called Safety Guidelines. A visitor searching for safety should wind up within this article. However, because the word safety appears within the body text of other documents more frequently, and you have several other guidelines, you may not return the right result. If the title field carried the most weight, then the likelihood that a user would discover the Safety Guidelines article is much greater.

Let us see how this would look within the dashboard...

Walkthrough

First, login to Site Search and then click into your Engine.

Next, locate the Weights option within the Sidebar or the Engine Overview.

Within the Weights feature, click on Add Field. A dropdown menu will appear, within it you will see your fields. The image shows the default fields. These will be the same as your own unless you have made alterations.

Weights - Add a field.
The default field types within the weights drop down menu.

Selecting a field reveals the Impact Slider. Drag the slider to a value between 1 and 10 -- 10 is the highest priority. Back to our Safety Guidelines case. There are three fields we can alter: (1) title, (2) body, and (3) popularity.

Weights - Apply weights to any field.
The default field types within the weights drop down menu.

By raising the weight of title and popularity, our search results will score matches within the title higher than in the body. How much higher depends on the difference between the body and title fields. We have added popularity too, as that will ensure that users find content that other users tend to find, allowing you to ensure quality across your most important pages.

Now that you have added some fields and tuned their respective weights, try a few sample queries within the search box on the right side of the page. Fine tune your weights until the results appear how you would like them. To delete a field, mouse over the existing field until the x appears.

Weights - Mouse over a field to delete it.
Deleting a field by mousing over the field.

What if you have multiple DocumentTypes? Each DocumentType allows for its own weighing parameters. You can change them within the header.

Weights - Select multiple DocumentTypes if applicable.
A weights view with channels and video for clickable DocumentTypes.

We can switch between the Channels and Videos DocumentTypes. By clicking on their respective text. With this, you are well on your way to curating the optimal weights for your different fields.

You have now configured weights. Great!

To further improve search relevance, you can apply Result Rankings and Synonyms.


Stuck? Looking for help? Contact support or check out the Site Search forum!