Modern SharePoint Search Ranks

New Contributor

This is a very basic Modern SharePoint question. I am not a tenant administrator so I can't implement any PnP type solutions. 


I am the owner of a SharePoint site. On the site, I have a Word document that is basically a glossary of terms. When users do a search for terms on my SharePoint site, the glossary often ends up way far down the results, when I would rather it be at the top. What options do I have to make my glossary document appear higher in search results (for specific terms or frankly, for all search terms)? I can make changes to either the document or the site settings, but not anything that requires SharePoint admin access. I am also open to modifying other items on the site to move them down in the results, but don't know how do to that either.

4 Replies
Here are a few quick fixes. The first and second are not mutually exclusive. You can (and should) do both).
- Don't make users search. Add a link to the document on the home page and navigation.
- Make sure the Title (not just the filename) of the document says Glossary (or what ever search terms you think people will use).
- Don't make it a document - change to a SharePoint list and have columns with term and definition. Each term can then be searched or the entire list can be linked.

Thanks @Susan Hanley !


The glossary is linked to from the site home page and navigation, but people aren't searching for the glossary document, they are searching for the terms that are defined within the document. There are around 100 or so terms defined in the glossary.


The title of the document is glossary, but the users are searching for the 100 or so terms within the glossary (basically, what you would usually put in an Index).


That is an interesting idea about converting the glossary to the SharePoint list. I'll have to play around with that. One problem is that the glossary does contain a lot of graphics for explaining each term.


Is there any way for me to tag the Word document with common search terms that I would want it to show up highly for? Like using page tags or something?


Best Response confirmed by Evan Cone (New Contributor)
If you are using metadata in the library where the document lives, you could tag it with those terms.

However, I really think that your best best is to make either a list for each term or a page for each term. The list can definitely include image and each individual item is searchable, but pages would allow you to create a rich and engaging experience for your readers on both desktop and mobile devices - and will also make each term searchable. You can add a page property called Glossary to associate to each page and then you can create a directory of the glossary pages that will be updated automatically each time you add a new page with Glossary as the type. You can create your directory using Highlighted Content or a simple view of the document library. You an also create a template for a Glossary Page which would make adding new term pages very easy and consistent. Since you know how your users search, you have an opportunity to create a very rich and engaging experience by creating a page per item (or list item per item).

At the enterprise level, there are additional ways to promote content in Search:

@Susan Hanley  Thanks, I'll give that a try!