If I asked ten people what is relevant information I would get 10 different answers. That is because what is relevant to each of us at any given time will be unique to the individual. We may care about the same topic such as a possible acquisition of a large company by a competitor, but I may be concerned with the product availability implications and you might be looking into the economic effects of the area surrounding the acquired business. Just type the company name into a search engine and you will find a lot of information but much of it might not be relevant to you. You might as well grab a cup of coffee and settle down for some serious research or you can take your search to the next level to find relevancy.
For the average business professional, you probably start with one or two keywords. Of course for those of you savvy in the field of Boolean logic, you use quotation marks, AND, OR and NOT like its second nature so you can filter your results accordingly. However in either case, you are relying on how the search engine treats keywords. Put in Company Name and the word Jobs and you can bet on finding the careers page for that company or maybe an announcement of the company participating in a college job fair when you were really looking at the community effects of job loss at that company.
The first step is to find a search engine that utilizes a robust taxonomy that covers the categories that matter to you: companies, subjects, industries, location, people, etc. By using a taxonomy that means the information has been reviewed and identified as being about that category versus being a simple mention. Think of it as getting results like company issued releases vs directory listings.
The next step is to look for services that offer indicators or filters that allow you to see or even adjust the level of relevancy. Did you know that in most search languages, results are graded? This kind of processing is happening behind the scenes but these grades are indicators of relevance. The higher the grade is the more relevant the information. This works when you are looking for something very specific. However, sometimes a broader search can give you more meaningful insights.
At Acquire Media, we take ‘relevance’ very seriously. As a news and information aggregator, we don’t want just any source for our content catalog. We select only those sources that will we be relevant to our users. Then we give users the controls to define just how relevant their search results need to be.
The next time you need to find information, think about relevancy and how you can get the most from your search.