Simple custom rank questions

Forgive me if this has been answered, I did some search and did not see a clear answer.

I have recently moved Magento2 search to Algolia. The search results are definitely and improvement. The product grid page (bottom category) however is a bit aof a problem. Products presented now sort by Relevance, which is generally pretty good, however I notice that when we add new important products that we would like to sell, Algolia buries them, presumably because there is no sales data yet and that is a factor.

I can see in settings that I can add and reorder attributes to help tweak that. But I see two places. I see Algolia Search > Products > Ranking and Algolia Search > Category > Ranking

Products Ranking shows 3 attributes being used, all descending

in_stock
ordered_qty
created_at

1st question is: Should “created_at” be “descending” if my intent is to prioritize new products?

2nd question is, regarding Category > Ranking. Does this affect ranking OF the categories or ranking of products ON the categories.

Presently this Ranking only has one attribute “product_count”. Im just not clear on what this does, or if I should add attributes to this setting in order to promote the products I want to promote.

3rd question is: Can I create a rank attribute with a simple 1-10 numbering system and add that to the products I wish to promote? If yes. Do I add it to Algolia Search > Products > Ranking or Algolia Search > Category > Ranking

I tested adding an algolia_rank attribute. It did not work. I added the attribute to the products I wanted to promote and gave it a value of 10. and sent it to Descending. Following re-index there was no change

I also tested by placing a phony order for 500 of a specific product. Then after reindex that product did in fact raise to the top of the product grid. But this is not an ideal method for obvious reasons.

You can use this method yes. It will help putting them at the top.

This affect the ranking of the categories.
the product_count is the category’s amount of products.
cf: Documentation

Yes this is something doable. However I would recommend using Rules which are more appropriate for that use case. You have a visual editor in the Algolia dashboard for simplicity (not on magento admin)
cf: Documentation

Hope this helps