SharePoint Online Classic Search vs Modern Search

In this blog post I will try to share the difference between Classic and Moder search in SharePoint online. Search administrators can customize the classic search experience but can do much on modern search as there are not separate search settings for the modern search experience. But certain of the classic search settings also apply to the modern search experience.

Classic sites have classic search boxes and modern sites have modern search boxes. If you believe that modern search gives your users the best experience, influence your organization to start using modern sites.

  Classic Search Modern Search
Search locations Search Center
Publishing sites
Classic team sites  
Hub sites
Modern team sites
Communication sites
SharePoint home page  
Search result Same search resultPersonal search result
Search experience Submit query to see search results Search results show up before typing and update as you type
Search result page Customizable Non-Customizable
Search settings Crawl site content Search
Schema Result source
Remove a search result
Promoted result
Site level search settings
Custom search results (display template, search web parts, query rules) 
Crawl site content
Search schema (except sortable, refinable, company name extraction)
Result source (Tenant level)
Remove search results
Promoted result (only when search across all of Share­Point)

I personally do no prefer customization on Search if there is no specific business need but if there are requirements to customize the search experience as per the business needs and user experience. If you are going to migrate from classic site to modern site then your search customizations will be impacted because as I mentioned earlier in the blog post, classic site has a classic search box and you’ve set up the search box to redirect to a custom Search Center to show results that are filtered and formatted for organization-specific content types. The modern site has a modern search box and you can’t customize the modern search experience. If you don’t need to customize search, we recommend using modern sites.

Adnan is six time Microsoft MVP (Since 2015) with over 16 years of extensive experience with major expertise on SharePoint, SharePoint based development, Microsoft 365, Microsoft Teams, .Net Platform and Microsoft BI. He is currently working Sr Microsoft Consultant at Olive + Goose. He is MCT Regional Lead for Pakistan Chapter since 2012. He is working on SharePoint for past 12 years and worked on different intranet/intranet solutions for private & govt. sector majorly in United states and Gulf region and have experience of working with multiple Fortune 500 companies. He is a trainer, technology evangelist and also speaks in community forums.

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