Custom meta tags for web pages in SharePoint Search

I’d like to share with you an amazing feature of SharePoint Search that exists for very long time,  at least since 2007 version, but very few people, according to my observations, are aware of it.

First of all, it is possible to increase findability by doing basic SEO of intranet sites by adding well-known (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meta_element) meta tags to web-pages : title, keywords, description. These tags will be picked up by SharePoint Web Crawler and propagated to crawled properties, and then automatically linked to appropriate managed properties, which have very high impact to overall ranking.

Secondly, it is possible to crawl custom meta tags from web-pages using and leverage them in search (a few example are in the end of the post).

All you need to do is to add them the same way as you do with well known tags.

<meta name="XXX content="YYY">

_mata

Then doing a full crawl, go to Search Schema (SharePoint 2013) or Metadata Properties (SharePoint 2010 or FAST), then Crawled Properties Categories. Note: Unfortunately during incremental crawl new properties will not be picked up.

_crawled

Then select “Web” cateory, and here is your newly added crawled property. Now, in order to use it create new managed property and manually map it to crawled property. Then do a full crawl again.

_mapped

That’s it.

Now a few ideas/examples how you can use efficiently use it in your search:

  • Increase findability by using well-known tags
  • Personalize search results leveraging custom tags:
    • In our portal we boost pages if office_city value matches city from user profile. It can be easily done via XRANKs and Query Rules in SharePoint 2013, or custom pre-processing with boosting of query in FAST Search (not an easy option, though).
  • Perform nice and easy integration with intranet portals to enrich search content with structured information.
    • In our portal we crawled employee recognition intranet site, where a set of pages represent rewards for employee and is enriched by custom tags as “employee name”, “reward description”, “reward category”. Then we created a structured search vertical that triggers when user query matches description/category of reward. Technically it was done using  Federated Web part and  Search scopes in SharePoint 2010 Search(FAST) and later on migrated to Result Sources and Results Block in SharePoint 2013 Search.
    • _custom

		
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