Why search relevance is not everything
When we talk to clients about optimising onsite search, their biggest concern is to make sure the results are relevant. However, optimising relevance is only half the answer.
An international multichannel retailer asked us to help them improve the quality of their search function as it hadn't been given much attention, and poor search results showed this was the case. We were invited to discuss progress with one of the directors. We had made some terrific improvements, so felt very confident going into the meeting. We presented the graph below, which illustrates how we had improved the two most frequently used evaluation metrics for search systems - precision and recall. Precision is a measure for the relevance of the products that have been found and recall measures if the search system has returned all results.