How to build a search relevance team

We've spent a lot of time working with clients who recognise that their search engine isn't delivering relevant results to users. Often this is seen as solely a technical problem, which can be resolved simply by changing query parameters or the search engine configuration - but technical teams need clear direction on why a result should or should not appear at a certain position, not just request for general relevance improvements. It's thus important to consider relevance as...Continue reading

Boosts Considered Harmful – adventures with badly configured search

During a recent client visit we encountered a common problem in search - over-application of 'boosts', which can be used to weight the influence of matches in one particular field. For example, you might sensibly use this to make results that match a query on their title field come higher in search results. However in this case we saw huge boost values used (numbers in the hundreds) which were probably swamping everything else - and it wasn't at all clear where the values had come from, be it ex...Continue reading

Setting up your first Quepid test case

Quepid is an innovative tool from our partners Open Source Connections, which allows you to bridge the gap between content owners (who really know what's in your search index and how people might search for it) and search developers (who can tweak the search engine to improve relevance, given some examples of 'good' and 'bad' results for a query). We're increasingly using it in...Continue reading

Out and about in search & monitoring – Autumn 2015

It's been a very busy few months for events - so busy that it's quite a relief to be back in the office! Back in late November I travelled to Vienna to speak at the FIBEP World Media Intelligence Congress with our client Infomedia about how we've helped them to migrate their media monitoring platform from the elderly, unsupported and hard to scale Continue reading

Quepid & Flax – if you’re not testing your search, you’re doing it wrong!

Earlier this year an e-commerce company asked us to look into how they should improve how they tested their website search queries. A relatively simple task you might think - but the company concerned has a turnover of over a billion pounds with at least half of this via digital channels, so measuring how well search works is essential to preserve revenue. Like (I suspect) many others, they were recording the results of thousands of test searches, carried out manually by their s...Continue reading