WordPress is the best blogging platform out there and with each new version, it gets better and better, but one thing that hasn’t been fixed for ages is – the default search system.
If you have spent some time playing with WordPress, then you know the default search is far from perfect. The default search system of WordPress doesn’t perform well, because it ranks results based on the date and keywords presented in the post.
Of course I can hear you saying why should I care, I know it’s a small thing but it plays a huge role in the blog engagement. It literally takes less than 5 minutes to replace the default functionality with a plugin like Relevanssi.
Let’s look at the some of the best search plugins for WordPress.
Relevanssi is a powerful solution to replace the standard WordPress search with a much better search system. Relevanssi is a free plugin and comes with a lot of configurable settings that allows users to highlight the search term & keep the logs of search results.
The plugins comes with a lot of fantastic features:
- Keep logs of all the search results in WordPress
- Highlight the search terms, it also allows you to choose style, color, background color, etc.
This is the search plugin that I have been using on my own WordPress blog and its hands down the best search plugin available for WordPress. Though, it also has a premium version which includes features like Multisite support, Export & import settings, Assign extra weight to new posts and many extra features.
The free version works well for small sites, but if you are running a high traffic site like Instant Shift then premium version is what you should try out.
Better Search is another relevant search plugin that replaces the default search functionality with a more powerful engine. The plugin is very similar to the one that i shared above, but this one has some extra features.
The plugin does a very goo job on tracking the most popular searches. This feature makes the “Better Search” better than other similar plugins.
Better Search Features:
- It displays a list of all the popular search terms in the form of a Heatmap.
- Automatically change the weighting of the post title and content on the basis of search results.
As the name suggests, the plugin search everything including comments, tags, custom fields, etc by adding more elements to the search form.
Search Everything let’s you add more elements to search form, but it doesn’t improve the relevancy or the search results.
List of options included in the Search Everything plugin:
- Search Highlighting
- Search Every Page, Post, Tag, Category
- Search Custom Taxonomies ( new )
- Search only approved comments
- Search Every Custom Field (metadata)
- Exclude Posts from search
- Exclude Categories from search
4. WP Search
WP Search is very similar to Google search engine and it improves search relevancy by giving more controls. The plugin has advanced settings that allow you to rebuild the index, Categories and comments.
- Allow users to search in categories
- Gives blog author an option to more weight to titles or blog content.
Live Search Features:
- Added hooks & filters for people to plug into DWLS
- Support for multiple search boxes
- You can now click anywhere in the result (instead of just the title)
- WP E-Commerce is officially supported
The swift type is a service that you can use as a WordPress plugin. The Swifttype plugin replaces the default search and gives detailed insight into what your users are searching for.
The Swifttype search service allows users to customize via the drag-and-drop interface for result reordering.
To use the swifttype search plugin, you would need to register on their website.
There are ton of great WordPress search plugins available and Sphinx is definitely one of them. Sphinx Search Plugin allows you to use Sphinx Search Server power to enable ultra-fast and feature-rich search form for your website. The Sphinx search improves the search results by changing the default search functionality.
Sphinx search plugin quickly sort the results by freshness and relevance. The plugin also comes with 3 great widgets – most recent searches, top and related search terms. These widgets can help you in increasing engagement on your WordPress blog.
Google custom search plugin uses the Google’s Search engine to search your site’s contents and you know how google search engine works when it comes to searching content. You can also configure it through google to search multiple sites.
WordPress google search doesn’t replace the standard WordPress search functionality and works with any theme. You can have both if you want.
It doesn’t require any signup or anything, all you have to do is to place the widget in sidebar or footer.
The highlight plugin doesn’t improve or reorder the search results, it just highlight the search terms with jQuery. It not only highlights on search results page but also one click deeper inside any of the found pages.
This won’t work in the Internet Explorer 8 or older as it requires HTML5.
The plugin adds Google like instant search functionality to the WordPress. The plugin suggests blog posts with images as soon as your site visitor starts typing into the search box.
It comes with its own options page that allows you to configure the plugin to work your theme and customize the search fields.
The purpose of installing a search plugin is to make your website easier to search. The goal is to show the exact results, that users are searching for. If I had to choose one plugin to replace the base search, than it would be Relevanssi. Though, one can also use the Instant search and suggest with Relevanssi to improve the search process.
Have you tried any of these plugins? Please let us know your thoughts in the comments below.