Are there existing best practices on how to display search results across different items that have multiple relationships (sometimes hierarchical).

For example, the following has:

  • asset groups (hundreds)
  • assets (hundreds of thousands)
  • characteristic (hundreds)
  • instances of that characteristic (under 5)

For example, macbook pro can be an asset. New York computers is an asset group that macbook pro is in. Macs is also an asset group with macbook pro.

Searching for "mac" should return results in order of most relevant to least relevant

  1. macs
  2. macbook pro
  3. New York computers

How to best demonstrate that those search results are different item types? Are there other websites that have done this successfully?

Scaling this to 4 is the goal, but just trying to wrap my head around 2 item types.

Examples Spotify example

Mac OS Finder example

  • 2
    Personally, from what you have described, I would ask "what is important here?" Is it to define groups of search results or the search results themselves? How many results are we talking? If it is possible that there are few results per group, is grouping still a valid requirement, finally, What's most useful? Commented Oct 19, 2018 at 7:13
  • Updated to add scale of each type.
    – paragbaxi
    Commented Oct 22, 2018 at 11:10
  • 1
    Have you considered setting a rule to limit relevancy ratings? For example, why would showing "New York Computers" be helpful for a user search for "mac" when "macs" and "macbook pro" are part of the result list?
    – Nicolas
    Commented Oct 25, 2018 at 19:05
  • Or, you could use faceted results to categorize "New York computers" as showing under "Stores", rather than "Products" for example.
    – Nicolas
    Commented Oct 25, 2018 at 19:07

1 Answer 1


'Relevance' of search results is based on its score – the higher the score, the higher it is displayed in the results. How you determine the score is up to you? Suggesting a few possible ways here:

  1. How the keyword string match is carried out? A keyword match may be 'exact match' or 'partial match'. Also, there is the question of 'synonyms'. Naturally an Exact match should score higher than a Partial one, followed by synonyms.
  2. Priority of fields for keyword match - Matches on the < title > or < h1 > of a page score higher than matches in the rest of the content, including < meta >.
  3. Position of keyword match - If the match is at the beginning of the title/h1, it will score higher than if it is somewhere in the middle.

Displaying results in different categories, a tab bar may be used depending on the choice of platform.

Link to related question: Guidelines for developing search engine

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.