Site Search Prioritization


Elastic-search takes all our data, cleans it (stemming, HTML stripping, etc), then puts into an inverted index where content is separated and organized.

Search uses 3 fields:

  • Title
  • Tags
  • _all.
    • The _all field is essentially a very large string made out of an item’s inverted index (non-module widget content, documents, module items, etc.).
    • You "hit" on this data based on occurrence and relevancy metrics.
    • It also searches title and tags, and if those "hit," it carries more weight (see Boosts) than hitting on the ALL string.


Search Result Weights

The only two things that receive a weighted factor (or a boost) in search results are Titles and Keywords. The rest of the results are based on the frequency of the search term.

The search tool looks at everything in a long string and calculates how many times a term is referenced in content areas, descriptions, widgets, (etc) and it suggests items based on how many times it is referenced in all the searches. If a term is also in a title or keywords then it shows higher in the results.

  • Boosts:
    • Title = 1.5
    • Tags/keywords = 1.25
  • Decayed modules:
    • Activities
    • Agenda Center
    • AlertCenter
    • Archive
    • Bids
    • Blog
    • Calendar
    • CityPolls
    • CivicAlerts
    • Community Connection
    • Community Voice
    • MediaCenter
    • Photo Gallery
    • Real Estate Locator
    • Notes:
      • Pages do not decay.
      • Elastic Guide for Decay Functions
      • We use an exponential decay
      • We are at:
        • "Scale": "21d"
          • "Offset": "21d"
          • "Decay": 0.9
      • Decays use different dates in the modules
        • Calendar decays on Event Date, Agenda Center on Meeting Date


Decay Date

Items in Document Center, Pages, Facilities, Form Center, Forms, Staff Directory, FAQs, and Notify Me do not have a decay date. We believe it would actually hinder best search results if we said after amount of time, this expires from showing in results. The reason being is that it is quite possible that a document from 2010 is still the most accurate and relevant item that a site user needs. So, the date is not a factor for search results in regard to the modules mentioned earlier. 

I'd Like to Request an Enhancement

2 out of 2 found this helpful


Article Feedback

  • Avatar
    Jennifer Balonek

    Please explain the term "decay"

  • Avatar
    Becca Drake

    Hi Jennifer,

    Decay is a parameter that defines how search results are scored. If the item has not been updated, it will have more "decay" and appear lower on the results list. Does that help?

    Thank you,
    Your Help Center Team