The best WordPress search plugins to power up your blog…
You might be wondering, why use a third-party WordPress search form when the default engine can get the job done?
You see, the problem lies in the standard engine’s simplicity. If you’re searching for “best freelance job websites” as an example, you will likely see results that have nothing to do with your job search…
So, in addition to providing more accurate searches, a third-party plugin gives you the following advantages:
- Give users the ability to search only within specific categories
- Keep your website compartmentalized (a search field for blog entries, and another for product results)
- Customize search settings to allow for partial searches and loosely-related terms
- Users and admins can perform advanced searches by tags, image descriptions, and other unusual entries such as embedded documents
That being said, let’s look at the best search plugins available for WordPress.
As the name implies, this plugin delivers results in order of relevance as opposed to published date. It also provides the following powerful benefits:
- Search within categories, tags, custom fields, and even through user comments
- Ability to deliver results based on partial terms
- Use “AND/OR” operators (for example, writer OR editor; house AND apartment)
- Search for exact-match phrases
- The plugin highlights keywords when browsing search results
- Place more emphasis (or weight) on different assets such as titles or tags
- Multi-site ready
- Search within user profiles (premium feature, and many more)
The plugin is packed with plenty of free and premium options; useful if you’re running a relatively complex website.
The best thing about Ivory Search is that it does NOT necessarily replace the standard WP search, but rather enhances it. However, the plugin also allows you to create separate search forms as well.
- Supports an unlimited amount of search forms
- Search within posts, pages, excerpt, images, files, and virtually any post type
- Ability to search only from specific authors
- Search for posts with various publishing statuses (draft, private, pending, etc)
- Useful for searching specific areas of your site (such as WooCommerce products versus standard blog posts)
- Uses Ajax to display results
- Customize form color, text, and the overall style of your search form
- Exclude specific content from results
All in all, it’s a relatively advanced plugin you can use to replace or improve the standard WP search form.
WP Extended Search
Yet another great search plugin for both personal and commercial blogs…
- Search within standard posts, categories, tags, and custom taxonomies
- Create multiple search forms and place them anywhere on your blog
- Include / exclude specific post types
- Configure the plugin to search only post titles, excerpt, body, or everything
- Extensive WooCommerce compatibility (search by SKU and other product-related attributes)
- Exclude older content (admin specifies the dates to ignore)
- Deliver results from exact or partial search terms
This plugin’s lightweight design means that your blog won’t suffer from performance issues while delivering laser-focused results.
WP Solr is a highly intelligent plugin. In addition to performing most features from the aforementioned plugins, other benefits include:
- Over 50 languages come pre-configured
- Relaxed typo tolerance (always get relevant results from vague searches)
- Get instant suggestions as you type
- Supports synonyms to further improve your search results
- Search analytics included
- Works seamlessly with bbPress, WooCommerce, WPML, and more
This is the recommended choice for professional websites, startups, and online businesses in general.
FacetWP is extremely versatile thanks to its varied configuration and ease-of-use:
- Let users set checkboxes, dropdowns, date range, geolocation settings, and more. Mix and match!
- Support for virtually all custom post types and taxonomies to compartmentalize your blog
- Lightweight plugin means faster results and greater blog engagement
- Optional integration with popular plugins such as Elementor, Beaver Builder, and more
FacetWP is ideal for those running classified websites and those offering multiple products across many categories.
Lastly, the following plugins don’t bring much new to the table (compared to the above offerings). Needless to say, they’re still great alternatives to consider for your personal or professional blog…
Use common words in article titles to help search plugins find more accurate results. Avoid cutesy terms that hardly anyone would realistically search for
Take advantage of tags as well as alt-text image descriptions. This is useful if your website is heavily dependent on images
Categorize posts properly and keep your overall blog design clean and simple to navigate (as this reduces the need to use the search form so extensively)
The above search plugins are useful even if your blog is relatively straightforward in nature. As the amount of published content grows, so will the need for more accurate results.
Do you have other plugin suggestions? Be sure to let us know on our official Twitter page. Best of luck!
Author: Elvis Michael
Elvis Michael is an avid blogger and e-trepreneur, endlessly exploring new ideas and effective ways to inspire.