SharePoint Hosting News: Tips to Make SharePoint Search Work Part 2

SharePoint Hosting News

Organizations use SharePoint to create websites. You can use it as a secure place to store, organize, share, and access information from almost any device. All you need is a web browser, such as Internet Explorer, Chrome, or Firefox.

SharePoint 2013 offers a simplified user experience and added enterprise social media capabilities, which expand upon previously offered capabilities for website management that include shared calendars, blogs, wikis, surveys, document libraries and shared task lists. SharePoint 2013 includes a community forum for users to engage in and categorize discussions, a microblogging capability and enhanced search capabilities.

Tips to Make SharePoint Search Work

SharePoint started in 2001 as a document management system, and that’s still one of its most important features. A key feature of a DMS is to be able to find documents. The SharePoint search engine has improved significantly over the last years. But a common misconception is that SharePoint Search works for every company straight out-of-the-box.

Every day thousands and thousands of Google employees work on improving the search engine and adapt it to the always changing world-wide web. The same is true for Bing, it does not “just work”. The core of the Bing search engine has been implemented in SharePoint 2013. So why does it still not fulfill all needs? Most importantly because of company specific metadata and taxonomies; even company has its own list of content types, metadata, and no site structure is the same. The SharePoint Search engine just needs some help to be able to understand the content better.

Search configuration and tweaking should be part of the project plan, and it must be understood that this takes time up-front, but also ongoing effort. I have compiled a list of 10 tips how you can make SharePoint Search work for you. I’ve added them in random order, there is no best tip as it all depends on your requirements and organisation.

#2 Tip: Configure The Refinement Panel

The refinement panel allows users to refine the search results, based on metadata. For example, it allows them to only see documents changed in the last 3 months, and created by a certain author.

Additional metadata properties can be added to allow filtering on custom metadata tailored to your implementation.

The Refinement Panel

The Refinement Panel Web Part provides a summary of search results and enables users to filter results, for example, by kind of content (document, spreadsheet, presentation, Web page, and so on), content location (such as SharePoint sites), content author, or date last modified. You can also configure custom refinement categories based on managed properties and enterprise content management (ECM) taxonomy nodes.

Step by Step configuration to Add custom Refiners in the Refinement Panel of Search Results page for SharePoint Online

You may have custom Library/List columns created which you would like to show them in the Refinement Panel on the Search Results.

Step 1: Creating a Document

Library / List with Customer Columns

  1. Create a New Document library -> go to Library Settings
  2. Create a new Column “Product Type” – Choice Field is what I selected.
  3. Upload some documents to the library and give different Choice options.
  4. Go to Library Settings -> Advanced Settings -> Click on ‘ReIndex Document library’ Button.

Step 2: Creating a New Site
Collection or Sub Site using “Enterprise Search Center” template. (Note: the reason we need to do this is due to the fact that we cannot modify the OOB ‘osssearchresults.aspx’ page)

I created a Subsite under my site collection using the ‘Enterprise Search Center’ template. Make sure that you are able to search the documents uploaded.

Step 3: Configuring Managed
Properties for Search

  1. Logon to Microsoft Online Portal (MOP)
  2. Go to SharePoint Online Administration Center page.
  3. On the Left Panel -> Select ‘Search
  4. Click ‘Manage Search Schema
  5. Search for Existing Managed property ‘RefineableString00’ -> Edit the property and set it up as per below. -> Click ‘OK

Step 4:Adding the Managed Property to Refinement Panel on the Search Results Page

  1. Go to the Subsite Search Center site created in Step 2.
  2. Type in any keyword to go to the ‘Results.aspx’ page. -> ‘Edit’ that page.
  3. Edit the Refinement Panel web Part. -> Click on ‘Choose Refiners…’ button.
  4. From the list of ‘Available Refiners’ -> Select ‘RefineableString00’ -> Click ‘Add’ button.
  5. Change the ‘Display Name’ for it (Initially it may not show the Sample Values, wait for around 5-10 mins to take effect)
  6. Click ‘Ok’ -> Save and Close the Page -> Check-In and Publish the Page

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