BET hit list

Better Best Bets with Lists in SharePoint 2013
September 7, 2016 – 10:41 pm
BET Awards 2014: Full winners

Best Bets or Promoted results is a great way to give end-users the answer to their search query without the additional click to open a page or document to locate the precise information they were looking for. Bing and other search engines already have many examples of this if you for instance look for weather information or currency conversion.

Out of the box approach

Out of the box in SharePoint Online/2013 you can set up this type of functionality using Query Rules. But, there are some hitches to the default experience provided by SharePoint.

First of all, the UI is not very user friendly (unless you’re a search expert). Each best bet or promoted result, which is what it is called in SharePoint, need a separate query rule with associated trigger terms. And for each query rule you have to specify the information about the promoted result(s) itself for that rule. All in all it takes a while to get used to, set up and maintain.

Secondly you can only trigger on exact terms/phrases or the start/end of the queries, not getting partial matches or terms spread apart. For on-premises you also have the option to write regular expressions, but now you are moving away from your regular search keyword manager in hurry.

Thirdly you won’t get any lemmatization or stemming on your trigger terms. As an example the trigger term red car will match the following text with lemmatization turned on:

  • red car
  • reds car
  • red cars
  • reds cars

Using lists and one Query Rule to Rule Them All!

I’m not going to take full credit for this idea as it was introduced to me by Petter Skodvin-Hvammen. But I have taken it a bit further to get the lemmatization working. The idea is to create a regular SharePoint list using Enterprise Keywords as the trigger term matcher. An easy and familiar way to add new entries, as well as easy to maintain. Then display the best bet hits from this list in a result block at the top of the result page.

Note: In order to display result blocks your users has to be assigned Enterprise licenses.

To set this up you need only one query rule targeting the best bet list. Once it has been set up you never have to maintain it again, and good bye quirky UI. Adding new best bets is as simple as adding a new row to the best bet list. Something most SharePoint user should be familiar with.

Interesting facts

"Limbo Rock" is a popular song about limbo dancing written by Kal Mann (under the pseudonym Jon Sheldon) and Billy Strange. An instrumental version was first recorded by The Champs in 1961. The first vocal version was recorded in 1962 by Chubby Checker (on Parkway Records): it peaked at number two on the Billboard Hot 100 and at number one on...

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Popular Q&A
What is a hit-list?

A list of people you would like to kill.

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