Guides / Managing results / Relevance overview

Relevance is about finding and ranking results from your index in a way that matches the users’ needs and expectations.

Relevance is a balance between finding all the records that match a search and ranking them so that the most important results are returned first. What important means depends on your and your users’ goals. While finding all matches is essential, if the best match is somewhere among hundreds of results, your search isn’t relevant.

Finding (intelligent matching)

Relevance makes sure that a search finds all records that match a query. Relevance is an intelligent matching process that takes into account typo tolerance, partial word matching, the spatial distance between matching words, the number of attributes that match, synonyms, Rules, natural language characteristics (like stop words and plurals), geolocation, and many other aspects of what users expect from a modern search experience.

Ranking (putting the best at the top)

Finding records is only part of the story. Ranking ensures that the records most closely related to the search appear first, while less related records are shown further down the list of results.

  • Textual relevance is about how well a record matches the search terms. Records that are a better match are ranked higher.
  • Custom ranking. If several records have equal textual relevance, Algolia lets you determine the order of results with custom metrics appropriate for your organization.

Algolia’s ranking criteria define where a record will sit in the list of results for a query. If you want to find out why a record is ranked the way it is, you can do this in the dashboard or with the API.

Promote your content

Relevant results help promote your content and give users what they’re looking for through the use of:

When a search matches the user’s intent, your relevance is good.


Users may not always be actively searching for specific items: sometimes, they discover them intentionally or unexpectedly. Discovery is a user-driven process where they browse and define what they need with each new query. A well-designed frontend UI/UX helps a user discover what they want.


The UI/UX should allow users to find results, navigate them, discover more content, and refine their search. A good UI/UX incorporates rapid searching, highlighting key terms in results, faceting, infinite scrolling, and more.

Further reading

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