I have some users complaining of an odd issue with our search results. When they search the entire site for a specific phrase (ex. - "lincoln"), there are a limited number of results. For the purpose of this explanation, let's say that three (3) results are found. From my viewpoint as an admin, seems like the Search service is working properly.
According to the user, however, a far greater number of results used to appear for that same phrase. They say that, say six months ago, they were getting 100+ results when searching for "lincoln" and now only get the 3 results. Documents are not deleted by the business unit, so anything that was there 6 months or even a few YEARS ago should still be there.
The search results page has no filters applied to it, and should be showing ALL results. Nothing search-related has changed as far as I know. If I search for a different term such as "park", I get numerous results as expected. If I search for "lincoln" while logged in as the farm admin account, I still only get the 3 results, leading me to believe that's all there is.
How can I, as a SharePoint admin, verify that the search results being returned are the correct and only search results?
Is there a backend database in SQL I can directly search for the text "lincoln", or do I have just have to assume that there are only three results?
UPDATE: One of the users was able to find a document that no longer shows up in results. It is a PDF generated in AutoCAD, and the search term ("lincoln") shows up in several places throughout the comments/notation. I confirmed that the PDF text is searchable within Acrobat Reader, so in theory it should also be indexed by the Search Service Application. However, I would still like to find out if there is a way an admin can verify result viability.
ADDITIONAL INFO: This is a SharePoint 2013 Enterprise farm. I have direct access to the servers and can muddle through writing powershell scripts or even C# code if needed, although I'm by no means a professional developer. I also have full access to the SQL backend if needed.