Should search vendors go back to the basics? Or is it too late?

By Cate Evans posted 02-12-2015 05:54


By Carla Mulley.

The very basics of search accommodate the different types of searches executed by business users. I think search vendors should go back to the basics. Although business users may be guru’s on using Facebook, Google search (doubt it), Pinterest, and the list goes on. They are not necessarily proficient when searching in the business environment.

There are three types of queries and we will take a look at each of them.

A searcher will use a Navigational Query when they know exactly the specific information they are seeking. In this case, there is usually ‘one’ right answer and the search will either return the correct results or not. For example, if the search was looking for “ROI for eMail Campaign on Data Privacy Webinar’, there is one right response and the selection list of similar documents would be very narrow.

Informational Queries are utilized to educate the searcher. In this type of query, the searcher is looking for answers or more details on a subject. For example a search on “Marketing Campaigns” will yield many results because it is a very broad keyword. In this case, the searcher is looking for knowledge on a particular topic and the results will lead to information that is relevant to the query.

Transactional Queries are goal orientated searches where the searcher has the intent to perform an action. For instance the searcher is looking for the right descriptors to add to a document of record, this would be a transactional query.

All types of searches must be considered in a search strategy. For the most part, users will employ all types of searches depending on the activity. Therefore the search interface must accommodate all options by using several techniques often using a hierarchy, which is especially useful for informational queries. Other techniques can be provided by the search engine to interact with the searcher to refine the results, such as faceted navigation. Auto-classification, taxonomies, and analytics tools are typically used to feed the output to the search engine index to improve relevancy and accuracy.

(If you have a few minutes and use SharePoint or Office 365, could you kindly take our metadata survey? You could win a free conference pass to Microsoft Ignite. We would greatly appreciate it)