Search has come a long way since the advent of WordPress in 2003. In WordPress version 3.7, some long-overdue search enhancements were finally implemented into the system, but the default search functionality still leaves something to be desired. If you’re an avid WordPress user, then you’ve surely noticed that doing a search on WordPress-based websites doesn’t always bring up the expected results. Sometimes, the article you’re looking for is hidden beyond page three of the search results.
With WordPress’ search functionality constantly being criticized by users, a lot of alternative solutions have popped up, replacing it with something better and more efficient. And today, we’d like to share with you 5 of the best WordPress plugins and services for giving your site visitors a better search experience. Check out their full features and see what works for you best.
Swiftype Search is a nice search service that’s used by a lot of large companies. All of the searches are performed on their servers, thereby reducing the load on your site. The dashboard displays various statistics like top queries, top content by click-throughs, search trends, and more.
One of its main selling points is its ability to re-order search results, which will come in handy if you don’t like the results of a particular term. Swiftype Search allows a website with a thousand pages or less to use the service for free. Pricing plans for websites with more content start at $49 a month.
This amazing search plugin for WordPress provides relevant search results. The plugin’s settings area lets you adjust the weight of ranking features to either title or post content. It also supports all caching plugins like W3 Total Cache, and comes with an option to display popular search terms.
Relevanssi boasts more than 500,000 downloads on WordPress, making it one of the most popular search engine solutions available in the market. The plugin was mainly designed to replace the abandoned plugin, WP Search, and soon picked up a loyal following, thanks to its one-of-a-kind features.
As the name suggests, this plugin tries to place an emphasis on relevance instead of date order. It lets visitors use OR and AND operators to improve search results. It also allows search terms to be highlighted in results.
The plugin also has a premium version, which is available for $39.95 per year, and comes with advanced features like throttling to improve efficiency and the ability to change the weight of ranking factors.
This WordPress plugin from WPMU Dev comes with user-friendly options and costs only $19. For it to work properly, the plugin requires the code that Google will provide through their Google Search page. This means that your Google AdSense integration is still controlled through your Google account.
The plugin was mainly designed to cater to novice users, allowing you to choose the style of results, choose where to display results, and whether or not to display a sidebar on search result pages. If you don’t need any of these features, we recommend directly entering your Google Custom Search code.
The WordPress Sphinx Search Plugin lets you control what is searched, giving your visitors the option to also search posts, pages, comments, and tags. The results can also be displayed by freshness, relevance or both. It also comes packed with widgets for top searches, latest searches, and related searches. It also has a statistics tool to help you analyze search terms.