Once you start writing and accumulate more than just a few articles, you will hopefully get more visitors to visit your site. And when they get there, your visitors will want only the best content and that’s only true if they are interested in the topic. So, even if you narrow the field and write only about, let’s say PC games and not all video games, people will still not be interested in every article you have written so far.
Beside links and recommendations by you or other visitors, you will want to give your users power of searching through your site.
Same way people search Google to get to your site, you want them to be able to search through your site as well. Yes, there is a default search feature already integrated in the WordPress. If you have tried working with it, you have probably noticed it is not as good as you imagined, even though it has improved over the years. With variety of WordPress plugins, you shouldn’t worry about that – there are numerous great ones which will extend your search possibilities and you will proudly present your search box on the site you own.
If you do everything right, users will likely type what they want in your new search box and get results they expected. Before we continue on the list of plugins, you should know that you can easily modify existing search engine. For example, you can tell WordPress to search through titles only, exclude some pages from results or redirect users if only one result was found.
Now let’s see some of the best WordPress search plugins you can install in a matter of minutes.
WP Google Search
Let’s start with a plugin which will help you get Google search power with onto your website. This free plugin will help you set up a Google search box which you can easily place in your website as a widget. You will have to register Google Custom search account, get the ID and the plugin will do the rest. Then, your visitors will be able to search your site or the entire web, depending on your settings, or even search only for images if you decide to do so. You can customize many search features, apply custom layouts, change colors, fonts, thumbnails and much more. If you are interested in setting up Google Custom Search, read more about it here.
- Results powered by Google
- Direct link to Google Analytics
This modern plugin is already used by many popular websites which recognized its power. Not only Swiftype features one of the best search algorithms which will give you meaningful results, but it gives you a detailed insight in all searches made on your site. With this feature, you can easily find the best keywords for your website and make the content and your search results even better. The plugin will replace standard WordPress search, and once you have created a free account you can customize Swiftype to make it as best as it can be for your site. If you have a mobile application that displays content from your website, you can help your mobile visitors search the content even easier with mobile SDK.
- Drag and drop interface
- Detailed analytics
SearchWP is another popular WordPress plugin which will be a great substitute for the default WP search. After the installation you won’t have to deal with a difficult setup, but instead you can configure it to work with custom fields and post types, different taxonomies, etc. The plugin works great with different media types so it will easily find videos, PDF documents, audio and much more. Its algorithms take relevance of keywords in your articles so, for example, a word which is found in the title will have more impact on search result than one found it the article, comment or the sidebar. Developers will like the possibilities of extending the plugin’s functionalities, while you can also install different extensions. You can expect detailed statistics of search results so you can work on content people are searching for. Currently, there are 3 different licenses you can choose from, starting from $49 per year.
- Keyword weight control
- Search media like video, audio and PDF
- Detailed analytics
Relevanssi may sound like something relevant. Actually, it is, because Relevanssi is a Finnish word for relevant. This plugin will replace your default WordPress search engine and make it quite better. To continue the story about the plugin’s name, Relevanssi will sort your results according to its relevance, not the date. And that’s just a first feature on the long list. This powerful plugin can match partial words (fuzzy matching), it will allow you to search for phrases or let you search for just one term.
Create custom excerpts, highlight the results in documents, and do much, much more with this plugin. Relevanssi can search through comments, tags and custom post types. It will also give you the power to select weight for titles, tags and comment and thus improve searching. One of the numerous features we would like to accentuate is suggestion function which will give users similar search queries – something like Google’s well known “Did you mean?” suggestion. Relevanssi offers much more, and this is only a free version that we’re talking about. If you need more, especially if you’re running a multisite, you should take a look at a premium version.
- Fuzzy matching
- Highlighted search terms in documents
- Suggestion based search results
Another great free substitute for your default WP search is definitely Search Everything plugin. It will improve your search results without modifying templates. You can set it up to search almost everything in your WordPress including pages, excerpts, drafts, attachments, comments, tags and even custom fields. Besides that, you are free to leave out pages and post you don’t want to be found in the search results.
This plugin comes with a little helper named Research Everything which will search for your content while you write a new article and will give you the ability to link to other content immediately. If you want to research even more, Power Search feature will help you find content around the Internet. If you’re in the run, simply install and activate the plugin without even looking at the settings page and you’ll have an improved search engine up and running in a matter of minutes.
- Exclude content you don’t want to be searched
- Research Everything and Power Search included
- Does not modify your template pages