By Marc Stephenson |

April 26, 2024

How to create curated search results in SharePoint Online

In this series of blogs, Marc Stephenson, Director, Information Architect and Enterprise Search expert here at Metataxis, continues to review the search configuration features available in Microsoft 365. Based on his experience, he will present a steer on how to best use them to optimise your users search experience. He’ll share with us what really works and what the documentation doesn’t explain well – or at all.

This time, he’s introducing us to creating curated search results using Microsoft 365 search bookmarks to increase search usability, help organisations sift through content and give end users a more optimised search experience.

Read on:

Introducing Microsoft 365 search bookmarks

search bookmarks

Did you know that SharePoint allows the curation of specific search results? This used to be known as “best bets” but are now called “bookmarks”.

A Microsoft 365 search bookmark is a pre-defined search result that is always displayed at the top of a search results page, when a set of keywords is searched for by a user. Bookmarks are effectively highly visible shortcuts to any URL (which might be outside M365 even).

Each bookmark consists of:

  • A concise and informative title that describes the link
  • A succinct description of the purpose of the link
  • A set of keywords that people use to find the bookmark when they search
Microsoft 365 Search Bookmarks

How to publish search bookmarks in SharePoint

There are several options on when and where bookmarks can be published. And once published, these bookmarks are instantly available to users.

Bookmarks can be added, updated and deleted in the Microsoft 365 admin center. This can be done for each bookmark individually or via a batch import file.

Bookmarks can also be automatically suggested by Microsoft 365 and then optionally automatically published.

My personal experience of these automatic bookmarks is that they are poor, and not worth using.

The pitfalls of  search bookmarks

search bookmark settings

There are, of course, some pitfalls with Microsoft 365 search bookmarks. Bookmarks can only be used at the Organisation level (i.e. M365 global search), although I believe this may change in the future.

Bookmark keywords must be carefully defined so as not to overlap with other bookmarks. When there are hundreds of bookmarks, this can be surprisingly onerous.

The main issue with bookmarks is the permissions required to manage them. Bookmarks are “content” things, so need to be managed by content managers. However, Microsoft 365 Global Admin (GA) access is required to manage them. No self -respecting admin would allow non-technical content managers to have GA access. This means that a process must be created between content managers and admins – not ideal.

The power of Microsoft 365 search bookmarks

Despite the above constraints, Bookmarks are a great way to optimise search in SharePoint online and well worth implementing, as they provide a simple way to ensure authoritative content is always presented to users.

How to configure bookmarks

Do you have any questions about Microsoft 365 search bookmarks? Are you looking to create and configure a SharePoint Search but not sure where to start?

Talk to us. We’ve done it before!

Learn more about Microsoft 365 search bookmarks

Read more about search bookmarks and check out Marc’s previous blog in this Microsoft Search series: Making Microsoft search results your own with custom verticals

Talk to us about search bookmarks