Sacpress search, take four

Previously I wrote an article mentioning how search no longer sucked. And while that was true, it wasn’t great either. Yesterday’s improvement to search makes it even more usable.

The biggest difference is that now our search results are displayed in order of relevance, with significant weight given to more recent content, instead of strict chronological order. Chronological order made sense, since, well, we’re a news site and the more current the content, often the more relevant it is. However, sometimes nothing new has been written about what you are searching for, but you still want to find it at the top of your search result. Now we have a balanced mix of relevance and chronology.

We also added exact phrase matching. This means that if you encapsulate your search phrase in quotes, you will only get content that has that exact phrase in it. The nice thing is that most of the time quoting isn’t necessary since we already give lots of value to the order of your search terms.

For a quick visual comparison, check out the screenshots of the searches for strong mayor below.

Quoted search for strong mayor.

 

Non-quoted search for strong mayor.

Notice the difference?

At first glance the searches seem to return identical sets of data, at least for the first two results. But take a closer look.

The number of results for the quoted string is far fewer, 599 versus 3,094. This is because only content that contains the exact phrase “strong mayor” is present. The second search result will have any content that contains the the words “strong” or “mayor” in it, in addition to the content that contain both, even if they are not next to each other.

As usual, please feel free to leave your comments, questions and criticism in the conversation below. Alternatively, you can e-mail me via the newly created suggestions e-mail, suggestions@sacramentopress.com. That email goes directly to me.

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