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Relevance is about finding and ranking results from your index in a way that matches the users’ needs and expectations.
Finding (intelligent matching)
Relevance makes sure that all records that match a query are found. 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. Once you found matching records, ranking orders them so that the most relevant records appear earliest (on the first couple of pages), while less relevant results appear later.
- Textual relevance is about the strength of a match. Records that textually match better than others will be ranked higher.
- Business relevance (or custom ranking). If some records have equal textual relevance, Algolia lets you break the tie and control the order of results with business-relevant metrics.
Putting matching and ranking together
Relevance is a balance between finding all the records that match a search, and ordering them so that the most relevant results are the most visible. While finding the correct records is essential, if the best match is on the last page or in the middle of hundreds of pages, your search isn’t relevant.
Promoting your business
Relevance is also about promoting your business and creating meaningful context, using custom ranking, merchandising, personalization, and analytics. With these tools, relevance is about creating results that best showcase your content.
Meeting user expectations
Relevance is about giving users what they’re looking for. When a search matches the user’s intent, you’ve achieved relevance.
Users aren’t always looking for a specific item: it’s also about discovery. They are browsing, defining what they need with each new query. The 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.