This is the fifth article in this series “What is This SharePoint Thing All About Anyway?” In previous articles we have discussed all of the great ways that you can add content to SharePoint and now we are going to highlight the powerful Search features available to help you access and locate the data once it exists within the site.

Search is everywhere, and SharePoint is no exception. By providing your users with a way to easily find their content you are able to greatly increase the usability and user adoption within your organization. This article will highlight the specific ways that SharePoint search enhances your environment.

Finding Just What You Need

One of the primary objectives within SharePoint Search is the ability to quickly and easily find what you need. This is done through relevance. The more relevant the item is to the search term, the higher it is displayed in the search results. In addition to relevance, the Search Center contains what is referred to as a Refinement panel. Users can select links in the panel that further restrict the Search results displayed. Common examples of the items displayed in the Refinement panel include:

  • Location of the Content
  • Author
  • Date Modified
  • Managed Metadata

The options within the Refinement panel are unique based on the content that is returned when the search is completed. This means that the items in the refinement panel are only relevant to the items on the current page. This allows users to quickly narrow down the information that they are looking to access.

In addition to the Refinement panel, SharePoint also supports the creation of Keywords and Best Bets. By configuring these, you are able to help promote the most common expected results to your users when they conduct searches. When SharePoint Analytics have been enabled in your environment, suggestions will be provided for Best Bets based on the searches completed by your users. Once a Best Bet has been created it will be displayed as the first item in the Search results whenever a user searches on the related term.

People Search

Another powerful aspect of SharePoint search is People search. People search allows you to find other users in the organization based on their contributions and expertise. Using this will allow your users to quickly and easily connect with others within your organization. People search includes the functionality that allows users to enter a phonetic spelling of the name of the person they want to locate. This is a great benefit since often times many names can be difficult to spell.