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How does Sharepoint search results sort if you don't customize them? I seem to only find ways to customize the sort order but that might not be necessary.

Underlying question is about doing a bit of SEO for some documents (I have made a custom search scope for a large document library with 20 or so columns)

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The default sort order is Relevance. You can change this to any sortable Managed Property if you like, for example Last Name for People (if you make the Last Name property Sortable).

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The "sort order" of search results in SharePoint 2013 is affected by multiple options. The main influences for the ranking are: Managed Metadata, File Type, User Preferences

You are able to modify this ranking by modifying the ranking algorithm, i have seen this in a demo. But I think this affects SP2013 globally, so this should be your last option.

To get you started, you may want to read this: https://blogs.realdolmen.com/experts/2014/06/05/understanding-item-ranking-in-sharepoint-2013-search/

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