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How to Improve WordPress Search Function

How to Improve WordPress Search Function

It is true that WordPress is a powerful building tool that allows you to set up any kind of website easily. However, this script also has some drawbacks, among which the search function is the most obvious one. The default WordPress search capability is really poor. Your readers cannot search the results based on the relevance, cannot search for the uploaded files and can hardly find the truly matching contents in some occasions. Due to this, we’d like to introduce how to improve WordPress search function in the following.

Frankly speaking, the proper searching tool or area can increase the page views of your website easily. After all, your audiences can find more contents they are interested easily. If your content is of the high quality, you can even retain them for a long time. This can indirectly improve your search engine ranking and increase the click-through rate.

Replace the Default WordPress Searching System

For the effective improvement, you firstly should replace the default searching function of WordPress with the advanced one. Here, you should rely on the WordPress plugins. Among all the WordPress search plugins, we highly recommend the Relevanssi one. It can replace the standard searching function automatically with the much better searching engine. With dozens of features, tools and configuration options, you can bring the best searching results for your readers.

After the installation, you can directly click the Settings > Relevanssi button to finish the following settings. Note that this plugin does not have the search widget. You can just use the default search widget on your site. After the configuration, the searching function can be improved automatically based on your needs.

Basic Options

Firstly, you should set up for some basic options. For instance, you can use the searching function in the dashboard interface, choose to show the date-based results or the relevance-based ones, enable the fuzzy matching and limit the searching results to your wanted restriction. Note that the fuzzy matching allows the results to match the partial words but not the complete words.

Relevanssi Basic Options


The value of the weights will affect the searching results greatly. For instance, if you give the post title more weights than the tag or category, the tool will consider the title relevance firstly.

Frankly speaking, the default weight is proper enough.


For the better user experience and feedback collection, this plugin also allows you to keep the log of the user queries. The log will appear on the WordPress dashboard in the “User Searches” part. This way, you can check what your audiences are searching for so as to better learn their needs. Here, you can prevent your searching queries from getting into the logs via the omit feature.

Exclusive and Restriction

This is one of the big advantages of this searching plugin. You can restrict people from searching something on your site. These include the special tags, categories, pages, posts and custom post types. You only need to enter the related IDs into the proper fields.

Exclusive and Restriction

Custom Snippets and Highlighting

This plugin can create the custom searching snippets. Once you enable this feature, it will create the excerpts containing the searching term hits. In addition, you have the freedom to highlight the query terms in the search results. Here, you can choose the color scheme based on your preference.

Custom Snippets and Highlighting

Enable the Faceted Search

If your website is the e-commerce one or is content-rich that has lots of categories, you’d better enable the faceted search function. After enabling it, your readers can access their target contents by applying the pre-determined filters easily.

Faceted Search

If you feel confused about this kind of searching feature, you can have a look at the above screenshot. Here, we search for the “technical writer” and get 486 results in total. Here, the faceted searching system categorizes these results into different groups that are defined in advance. Thus, we can target the right categories so as to get their wanted contents easily.

Frankly speaking, this kind of searching system can save people’s efforts a lot when searching for a large website.

We have already introduced the utilization previously. Thus, you can check this tutorial to learn how to implement the faceted search feature in WordPress.

Consider the Display Location of the Search Box

After improving the function of your search box, you also need to consider the display option. Among all the proper locations, we highly recommend you to show it on the top section of your page sidebar. This is the most common place to see when people want to search for something.

We have found that many webmasters place the search box at the footer of the webpage. Surely, this can save the space of the sidebar. But frankly speaking, this cannot bring the best searching experience for your readers.

Optimize for Your Multisite Network

It is possible that you have the multisite network and want to have the powerful searching system across the network. If so, the above-mentioned methods are not suitable for you. Instead, you need to pay the extra money to get the service from Global Site Search. This is the most effective plugin that allows your audiences to search among your multisite easily.


Susan Rose is a freelance writer who has a deep knowledge about WordPress. She loves everything related to website building since the freshman year at Christopher Newport University, and loves to share her experience with people all over all the world. In the daily life, Susan loves detective novels as it can train her logical thinking and creativity.