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Recently, we launched an intranet site via SharePoint 2010 Standard. The site isn't much more than a collection of documents with a handful of links. When designing the intranet, we created a custom column that we used as the display title for all of the documents on the site. Consequently, this title is not included in the default ranking model used by our Search Center. This leads me to the crux of my problem:

I need to create a custom ranking model for our search that takes into account the custom column as well as some other items that the project sponsors are looking for. I understand the general concept of weighting and query dependent and independent elements. However, I am not sure what I should all be including for elements (such as document popularity or click distance) or what the relationships of the weights should be to one another (i.e. I want my custom column to be the most prominently weighted column, but how much more weighted should it be than other default columns). I have done a fair bit of searching for information, but most sites show you how to create a custom ranking model without much explanation as to what should be included and why. I already created one model, but the results were not at all what I expected leading me to believe I may have missed adding some information or may have set my weight proportions wrong.

My question is this: Does anyone have any resources or experience that explain what weights should be or what items should be included in a custom ranking model? I realize a lot of this information is dependent on the site being searched, but I am looking for a direction to head in so I can begin constructing and testing ranking models.

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up vote 1 down vote accepted

It turns out that this is a lot harder question to answer than I anticipated. I did some research and found out that search uses a fairly complicated searching algorithm (BM25F) within the search engine. Thus, playing around with it can be a tricky proposition. Through trial and error, I was able to create a ranking model that would work for my organization. My advice would be to start with the more 'concrete' attributes such as title, author, etc. and move on to the more abstract attributes such as clickthrough and depth if needed.

In case anyone else is trying to make their own ranking model, I am posting a couple links here that I used:

-Ranking Model Schema (Microsoft) http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ee558793%20(office.14).aspx

-Custom Ranking Models with SharePoint 2010: Background, Value and Administrative Overview (Shaun O'Callaghan) http://calvisblog.wordpress.com/2010/06/21/custom-ranking-models-with-sharepoint-2010-background-value-and-administrative-overview/

-Custom Ranking Model (David Einebrant) http://sharepointkaos.wordpress.com/2011/01/13/custom-ranking-model/

Good luck!

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