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The Thesaurus page is useful to add and review related or equivalent words used to expand queries by transparently adding expressions to the search, thus returning more results that would otherwise be missed.

Thesaurus Best Practices

When managing thesaurus entries (see Adding Thesaurus Entries From the Administration Tool), consider the following rules, behavior, recommendations, and tips:

  • Matching acronyms and abbreviations with their full versions, or jargon with proper terminology is a good thesaurus usage.

  • Taking advantage of either the on-premises or cloud usage analytics (see On-Premises Usage Analytics Module or Usage Analytics Cloud Service), identify searched keywords that return no or not optimal results because users are not searching for the terms used in the available content, and then create a thesaurus entry that expands the query to the appropriate synonyms.

  • A thesaurus entry is expanded for an exact match only (the stemming expansion is applied after the thesaurus expansion), so you should consider entering singular/plural, conjugation, one vs two-word, and other synonym variants to increase chances the entered keyword is expanded.

  • Thesaurus entries are case insensitive, so do not bother entering casing variants.

  • Avoid adding a large number of thesaurus entries without a precise search optimization goal (for example using an external glossary) to prevent adverse side effects that can confuse users.

  • Avoid using the thesaurus to expand a typo to its correct form. Based on the relative occurrences of a misspelled and correct form of a word in the index, the query correction (or Did You Mean) feature will automatically suggest or correct the best spelling (see Query Correction Feature).

    Note: The Did You Mean feature notifies users of the term suggestion/correction, while the thesaurus silently expands or replaces query terms. The thesaurus expanded or replaced terms are however highlighted in search result titles and excerpts, as are other queried terms.

  • A specific keyword/expression can only appear once across thesaurus entries. You must group equivalent keywords/expressions in one thesaurus entry.

  • Be careful to enter only legitimate synonyms to prevent excessive search result broadening that can negatively affect search results ranking and confuse users.

  • Minimize the number of synonyms that you enter in a given entry to prevent confusing the users with numerous matching terms and also prevent drastically increasing the length and complexity of the query.

    Note: All thesaurus expanded query keywords are stemmed and expanded to other shared-root keywords, further increasing the length of the query.

  • The thesaurus applies only to free text queries, not to field queries.

  • Thesaurus entries are not applied for keywords entered next to the NOT and NEAR operators.

  • Immediately test your thesaurus entry creation or modification in the search interface(s) to ensure that they improve search result relevance.

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