In search, you're only as good as your first results. Ensuring that the best results come first often requires a multi-algorithmic approach that embraces both semantic and social data.
This collection focuses primarily on the sub-pattern of Best Bets.
Manually mapping the most common queries to one or more starting points.
On most sites, a few very common queries account for a major percent of searches, so a relatively small amount of human effort can make a big impact.
Best Bets is a best practice for large web sites. It can be successfully integrated with other approaches such as autocomplete and faceted navigation.
One person (or a small team) reviews the search logs on a regular basis and maintains a simple database that maps queries to recommended results.
The Accidental Thesaurus by Rich Wiggins and this presentation (PPT) by Tito Sierra are good starting points.
Best Bets (Delicious)