How do I understand the ranking of Confluence's Search Results

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Purpose

When searching for items in Confluence, it may not provide the results in the order you were expecting. For example, you may expect a certain page to be ranked higher than it is in search results; or blog post does not feature on the first page of results.

The goal of this document is not to explain the search algorithm (as this changes between releases) but rather to help explain the overarching principals in Confluence Search Results.

The Confluence "Explain" Action

Visiting http://<your confluence URL>/explain.action?queryString=keywords will provide a formatted list of each search result, and what factors contribute to it's overall score. This is a very technical breakdown of how the search results are generated. We've got some rough guidelines below.

This forum post has some excellent discussion (along with the math involved) about how a certain title gets to a certain score.

Notes regarding CQL

  • The Confluence Explain Action does not support CQL at this time.
  • CQL generates rankings differently to the primary search mechanism, although CQL will be the primary search method in Confluence 5.9 and above

What affects a document's score?

All documents have the same chance to appear in search results. Weightings are made up of the following:

Document Age

Newer Documents will be given a slightly higher score than older documents. Keep in mind that doesn't mean that newer documents will appear first, just that they give a slightly higher weight.

Title

Confluence will look at the number of words within a title (excluding minor words, such as "the", "and" etc), and will check how many times a word appears in the title.

Content

As with the title, Confluence will look at the number of words within the content, and check how many times the number of words appear in the content.

Popularity

Popular pages are those that have more incoming links. A page that has more incoming links will be ranked higher than other pages that share similar content.

Last modified on Feb 19, 2016

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