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When SharePoint Search is used to crawl external websites, how does ranking work?

Is there a way to manipulate the search results to promote and demote certain results without any coding (I'm not a developer)?

I'm trying to improve search relevance but seems options for external websites are fairly limited. I have already implemented keywords and best bets which works well but I want more control over the search results ranking.

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The ranking algorithm is based on the BM25 ranking model and takes into account various factors such as Contextual Relevance, Proximity, Metadata, Language, File Type, Anchor Text, URL Depth and URL Matching.

You can influence it by going to the Search Administration page and going to Authoratative Pages in the Queries and Results section. This allows you to boost the relative rank of various pages. You can also demote sites.

If you want to fine-tune the ranking algorithm you can modify the XML files that define it, but unless you are an academic expert in this field I wouldn't recommend touching it!

There is a good blog post about this if you want to learn more.

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