I know that user contributed data has the garbage in = garbage out problem, but I have a couple ideas that might be the basis for something that could work. Maybe.
First, how about starting self-contributed data only, sort of a user preference filter. Here's a scenario: I'm looking for a 555 timer. Oddly, 555 in the search box doesn't get me to the timers, or even to the analog circuits category (though funny note, all of the "Analog Integrated Circuits" icon is stamped 555, so we're all thinking the same thing!). So I put in a fuller PN - TLC555, and I find they are called "Analog Waveform Generation Function IC." I'm never going to remember that (my brain overlows at 16 characters). But if could, for my own search purposes, commit a preference that whenever I search "timer" that the engine could treat this as both literal and an alias for "Analog Waveform Generation Function IC", it would get me where I want to go.
This is pretty specific. More general extensions could be aliasing ecap to Aluminum Electrolytic Capacitor, or maybe just cap to Capacitor in general.
Now if more people use this than me, and we start to build a database of jargon linking these two concepts, then we could use it for reverse lookup. Now, when a noob comes to site and searches for "timer" maybe they have an option to "include community contributed data" that includes aliases like the one I saved. If it works, they're happy, as it got them to timers. If parts.io can track successful navigations, then it can later be adopted/incorporated as sort of "alternate descriptions," and not community data.