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How to Organize Content for Optimum Search for SharePoint 2013

In an article on TechNet, Best practices for organizing content for search in SharePoint Server 2013, Microsoft provides a set of best practices which SharePoint administrators, architects, developers and other stakeholders should follow to ensure that the enterprise search component for SharePoint 2013 produces optimum results. We wish to note that the SharePoint 2010 versions of two of the five practices, “Organize content in hierarchies and use natural language” and “Encourage users to enter rich and consistent metadata for their sites and content” are each covered at length in a set of video training content, SP 305 – Manage Enterprise Metadata with Taxonomy Management in SharePoint 2010 on Rehmani Consulting, Inc’s SharePoint-Videos.com web site. The content on the web site is available to all subscribers to site content. As well, this content can be purchased as a set for either individual or organizational use. Please contact us, or telephone us at +1 630-786-7026 for further information.

In an article entitled What are the natural hierarchies and why they are a good thing Mosha Pasumansky provides information on the etymology of the term “natural hierarchies.” We highly recommend that readers review Mr. Pasumansky’s definition of the phrase in order to understand Microsoft’s intent in the article we’ve cited from Technet. We would add that, to our ear, “natural hierarchies” are synonymous with “optimized taxonomies”. After all, per the Bing Dictionary, the term “taxonomy” is defined as “principles of classification” or “the practice or principles of classification.” In our opinion “hierarchies” provide a method for depicting classifications. Finally, once again entirely in our opinion, we note that “natural” methods of depicting classifications are presently considered to be “optimum.”

TechNet notes in the section of this “Best Practices for organizing content for search in SharePoint Server 2013” article that it is recommended to use a naming convention for URLs and file systems that reflects hierarchical structure: “URLs and other metadata of files, such as file names, are analyzed linguistically by the search system. If you use natural language for URLs and for metadata, the search system can more easily understand what information is in the site or file and give it an appropriate ranking in the results. It is much easier for the search system (and users) to understand a URL and file name like http://sales/Europe/presentations/phones.ppt than it is to make sense of http://slseur/p_phones.ppt.” (quoted from an article on TechNet, for which a link has been provided above). This type of procedure, which enforces so-called “natural language” on directory structures, is entirely consistent with best practices for managing taxonomies, regardless of whether the computing platform is SharePoint Server 2010, or 2013.

In the next post to this blog we will look further at TechNet’s prescription in this article for handling metadata tagging.

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