Search crawl and SharePoint Online

I received a question to one of my blog posts:

“There seems to confusion regarding crawling in SPO , as it is very different from the crawling in the on prem environment. can you please shed some light on types of crawling in SPO”

This made me realize its very hard to find information about search crawls in SharePoint Online. I remembered a great post by Chris O’Brien not that long ago:

Chris also looked into this question and found the following:

“Search crawls occur continuously to make sure that content changes are available through search results as soon as possible. Recently uploaded documents may not immediately be displayed in search results because of the time that’s required to process them. SharePoint Online targets between 15 minutes and an hour for the time between upload and availability in search results (also known as index freshness). In cases of heavy environment use, this time can increase to six hours.”

This relates from the following article: under the header More Information. Thanks for the post Chris 🙂

Apperently continous crawl is supported in SharePoint Online:

Just take a look at the table! Although Microsoft contradicts itself at the beginning of the page:

“Not available to SharePoint Online customers. Configure crawl schedules for SharePoint Server 2013 content sources so that crawls are performed continuously. This option eliminates the need to schedule incremental crawls and automatically starts crawls as necessary to keep the search index fresh. Learn more about managing continuous crawl.”

This makes everything a bit more confusing and isn’t really helpful. I wish Microsoft would make their Service Description a bit more clear related to this subject. I remember the Service Description used to be a Word document, I had the feeling that was a bit more clear but that can be personal 🙂

I do recommend the following trick to perhaps speed up the crawl of your documents:

  • Go to a document library
  • Click on Library and Library Settings
  • Click on Reindex Document Library

Definitely worth a shot! Hope this makes things a bit more clear for you.

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