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Looking to improve your site’s search?
The default WordPress search leaves a lot to be desired, so if you’re going to take search seriously, you’ll want to use one of the plugins listed below.
Many of these plugins have been actively developed for years and have some excellent capabilities built in.
By the way, you can get analytics on your most popular search terms with the Independent Analytics plugin.
WordPress search plugins
These plugins will greatly enhance search functionality on your website. WordPress normally only checks the post content and title, but these plugins let you include author names and other info as well in the search criteria.
Here are the top picks for the best search plugins for WordPress.
JetSearch is the AJAX search for WordPress websites, compatible with Gutenberg and Elementor page builder. Create a search page, turn on search sitewide, customize quick search view, etc.
Using JetSearch, your visitors will find more robust search results on your site in a fraction of the time. It’s a must-have for large eCommerce and content websites.
- Use search query to sort results by relevance
- Exclude or include items from the search
- Search by order, author, post ID, data, number of comments
- Customize search view
SearchWP is a premium plugin for improving your site’s search results. SearchWP boasts integrations with a handful of other popular plugins like WooCommerce and Easy Digital Downloads. Also, it has more robust search analytics reporting than other search plugins.
While Relevanssi is a great plugin, SearchWP is likely a better choice for anyone willing to pay due to its feature set and easier-to-use admin menus.
- Indexes E-commerce products, PDFs, and custom field content
- Automatic integration
- Ajax search results
- Allows creation of multiple search engines
- Search statistics and insights
- Easy algorithm customization
- Weighting controls for all content variables
Relevanssi improves the default search by adding partial match results and sorting the results by relevance. Search results are typically sorted by date in WordPress and only include exact match results.
- Sorts results by relevance
- “Fuzzy” matching: matches partial words
- Adds comments, tags, categories, and custom fields as search results
- “Did you mean?” like in Google search
- Adjust the weight for titles, tags, and comments
- Creates custom excerpts on the fly using text around the query text
- Highlights search terms in the document after the user clicks on a result
4. Reactive Pro
Reactive Pro is an advanced search and filtering plugin. While the search bar works great, what sets this plugin apart is its extensive filtering capabilities.
You can use Reactive Pro on any site to help visitors find the right content. Use it to filter products in your WooCommerce store, navigate a stock photo site, or even find hotel locations on a travel site.
- 15 different filter types
- Map autocomplete
- Drag-and-drop builder for creating search/filter sets
- Works with WooCommerce out-of-box
- Compatible with any Custom Post Types on your site
WordPress only uses post titles and content in search results. Better Search adds all content types on your site to the results. Visitors can truly search your entire site for whatever they’re looking for.
- Works automatically
- Integrates with your theme’s search results template
- Sorts results by relevance (instead of date)
- Controls for weighting factors
- Lists visitors’ popular search terms
- Works with caching plugins
The WP Google Search plugin makes it easy to integrate a Custom Search Engine by Google into your site. This means you get the full power of Google search on your site.
- Fast and highly relevant results
- Earn from ads displayed in your search results
- Show results from multiple sites
- Customize the look of the results to match your site
- Shortcode and widget for the search box
Search Everything gives you complete control over what gets included in the search results. You get to choose the content types, and you can exclude any posts or pages you want.
- Returns search results from all content types
- Integrates with existing search results templates
- Search term highlighting
- Exclude posts/pages
Evaluating search plugins for WordPress
If you’re going to utilize search on your WordPress site, it’s critical that you use a plugin to improve the experience.
Out of all the search plugins available, the five above stand out as the best. They are the most feature-rich, highest-rated plugins you can find for improving search.
If you have any questions about WordPress search or one of the plugins above, please post in the comments below.