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Chapter 2. Searching > Improving search results based on user clicks

2.4. Improving search results based on user clicks

In the previous section, we showed that link analysis allows us to take advantage of the structural aspects of the internet. In this section, we'll talk about a different way of leveraging the nature of the internet: user clicks. As you know, every time a user executes a query, he'll either click one of the results or click the link that shows the next page of results, if applicable. In the first case, the user has identified something of interest and clicks the link either because that's what he was looking for or because the result is interesting and he wants to explore the related information, in order to decide if it is indeed what he was looking for. In the second case, the best results weren't what the user wanted to see and he wants to look at the next page just in case the search engine is worth a dime!

Kidding aside, one reason why evaluating relevance is a difficult task is because relevance is subjective. If you and I are looking results for the query "elections," you may be interested in the U.S. elections, while I may be interested in the UK elections, or even in my own town's elections. It's impossible for a search engine to know the intention (or the context) of your search without further information. So, the most relevant results for one person can be, and quite often are, different from the most relevant results for another person, even though the query terms may be identical!


  

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