SharePoint 2013 Query Suggestion Files


Over the last three months I have been working on a Search Administration class that has a focus on improving the end user search experience. If you have attended one of my governance classes or consulting sessions then you have heard me preach on the need for a "Search Administrator". If you are interested in this area of administration then check out my new class: Microsoft SharePoint 2013 Search Administration.

I have been experimenting with SharePoint 2013 search Query Suggestions and found that there are some interesting aspects of the import files that don't seem to be documented anywhere.

  • One phrase per line.
  • The “Always Suggest” file does not need quotes, but they are acceptable.
  • The “Never Suggest” file must have quotes around multiword phrases.
  • Files can have blank lines.
  • Files with duplicates cannot be uploaded.
  • The order of the phrases is not important. The phrases will be sorted in the dropdown. For that matter, if you import the file and then export it, the items are in alphabetical order.
  • It's a good idea to keep your own backup of the files. Do not depend on the export as the order has been changed. You may also want to keep a "documented" version of the file with some comments. (Remember to remove the comments before uploading!)

I tried most of the ways to add comments, but none of them worked. You may want to keep two copies of your suggestion files, one with comments and one without.

Example of an Always Suggest file:


Example of a Never Suggest file:

In this example we are hiding common misspellings learned by search's automatic query suggestions. We are also dealing with the fact we don’t have a "Cincinnati region". It’s really the South Western Ohio Region.



Tip: If you are working with an on premises SharePoint 2013 then you could add a thesaurus entry to expand the user's search for "Cincinnati Region" to include "South Western Ohio Region". 


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