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Lesson 7 Relevancy rankings and search results
Objective Explain how search engine results are ranked.

Relevancy Rankings and Search Results

Almost every search service provides some type of relevancy rating of your search results. How different search engines use relevancy ratings varies, but the idea is the same--to rank or order your search results based on how well the searching software feels the results match your search query and other limits.

Scoring criteria

Most engines have fairly complex, and proprietary, scoring criteria that take into consideration whether a document satisfies some or all of the following criteria:
  1. Are the query words or phrases found in the first few words of the document (for example, in the title of a Web page or in the headers of Usenet news articles)?
  2. Are the query words or phrases found close to one another in the document?
  3. Does the document contain more than one instance of the query word or phrase?
  4. How often was this document chosen in similar searches?

Relevancy ratings often appear as a percentage (for example, 78 percent) that precedes the document titles from your query's result list. Some engines simply order your results using the "best match first" guidelines. With advanced searching, some engines allow you to determine your own rating criteria. You can actually specify the words you would like to use in order to rank your results.
Most search services provide several options for how your results will be displayed. These range from just the document title and URL to in-depth document summaries and details on how the document meets your search requirements.
Referring to a hard copy of an exercise can be helpful if the exercise is long or has many steps. You may want to consider printing the exercise or referring to your course PDF download before starting.

Search Relevancy - Exercise

Click the Exercise link below to practice more searching with advanced techniques.
Search Relevancy - Exercise