Troubleshoot Search Implementation Issues With Usage Analytics

The first time you deployed the search solution or after you made major changes to it, you may have introduced issues that are difficult to identify using traditional quality assurance techniques. You can monitor the usage analytics after the search solution is live to ensure people are finding what they’re looking for.

Here are some typical issues you can find using usage analytics:

  • Non-indexed items

  • Non-indexed item fields containing relevant text

  • Queries that don’t return results

  • Search boxes which apply special filters that don’t work as expected

Analytics can help you making sure everything is working fine in a production environment.

To troubleshoot search implementation issues with usage analytics

Use one or more of the following methods:

  • Looking at the Content Gaps explorer:

    1. Access the Administration Console Content Gaps explorer (in the navigation bar on the left, under Analytics, select Reports, and then on the Reports page, in the Name column, click Content Gaps).

      This explorer provides a list of queries that didn’t return results (see Content Gaps).

    2. Investigate why each user query with the highest Search Event Count value didn’t return results.

      • While it’s normal to have search events without results due to typos or non-existing content, make sure that no queries for which you should expect results appear in the list.

      • A query might return results only for some users or in some interfaces, due to permissions on items and hidden filters on queries used in some interfaces.

    3. Identify if the user query never return results or if it does only under some patterns.

      In the following capture, people aren’t finding anything when they include the keyword darkstar. It might be that the items use dark star instead, so a thesaurus entry can be added to solve this issue (see Manage Thesaurus Rules).

      Admin-ContentGapsQueriesd

  • Looking at the Search Relevance explorer:

    1. Take a sample of the top user queries that you feel should be followed by the most clicks by your users.

    2. Access the Administration Console Search Relevance page (in the navigation bar on the left, under Analytics, select Reports, and then on the Reports page, in the Name column, click Search Relevance).

    3. Add the Click Event Count metric to the table (see Add Dimensions or Metrics to the Data Table).

    4. Sort the table with descending Click Event Count metric values.

    5. Verify that your top user queries are often followed by a click by your users.

  • Looking at the Summary dashboard after updating your search solution:

    1. Access the Administration Console Summary dashboard (in the navigation bar on the left, under Analytics, select Reports, and then on the Reports page, in the Name column, click Summary).

    2. Spot any abnormal change in the data. In particular, the Search Event Count (number of reported queries), the Average Click Rank Over Time (in the Relevancy tab) and Search Event Click-Through (%) (in the Relevancy tab) metrics should remain stable.

      In the following example, further investigations should be done if the decrease in the Search Event Click-Through (%) around Apr 25th matches the date of an update to the search solution:

      Admin-SummaryContentGapsb

  • Looking at the Search Relevance explorer:

    1. Access the Administration Console Search Relevance explorer (in the navigation bar on the left, under Analytics, select Reports, and then on the Reports page, in the Name column, click Search Relevance.

    2. Remove the User Query dimension and Visit Count metric (see Add Dimensions or Metrics to the Data Table).

    3. Add the Origin 1 (Page/Hub) and Origin 2 (Tab/Interface) dimensions to report the data by search interface (see Add Dimensions or Metrics to the Data Table and Usage Analytics Dimensions).

      As each search interface may have different configurations (filters, ranking, query extensions…), checking the relevance metrics for each interface can help you identify invalid configurations.

      if you notice low search event counts (which is the case for the Portal Search hub below) or unusual low Search Event Click-Through (%) or Relevance Index, there might be some configuration issues with this search interface.

      Admin-RelevanceDatad

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