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Testing Search Engines: Relevance Ranking

Evaluating relevance in results and ranking is one of the hardest tasks in Information Retrieval. The basic problem is that it's easiest to search on words, but words often fail to express the "aboutness" of a search query or document. There are a number of approaches that add "weight" to results rankings: they use the data and the document structure as much as possible to decide which of the pages, which are otherwise equivalent, should be sorted higher.

This section is testing these algorithms. For more information on the test suite, see the Search Indexing Test List.

For our tests, we have a set of pages which contain some miscellaneous text, and some unique terms which are not words and therefore will not bring up any false matches (unless the search engine is performing phonetic or soundex seaching). The special terms are:

To test, search using both AND and OR searches to see which pages are considered most relevant to these terms.

Text Weighting

Page Structure Weighting