With graphic tools and editors, templates and plug-ins, all you have to do is use a content management system like WordPress.
WordPress is a free and open-source CMS that allows you to create beautiful websites or blogs easily.
However, not everything might be as you need it. Perhaps you need something to improve the site’s search capabilities? That’s where plugins come in!
Plugins – What are They?
Plugins are the add-on or extension features that you can use to bring new features to your site. As the name suggests, they can “plug-in” with the existing system and perform seamlessly as a part of it. Essentially, plugins extend the functionality of your site.
And today, they are a ubiquitous tool almost everyone uses. After all, no single tool is going to have everything you need. However, with plug-ins, you can build a customized toolset for yourself.
There are various categories of plugins available. The categories include caching, security, social media integration, and a few more.
Some plugins boost the conversion rate, while others help decrease the load time of your site. Similarly, there are search plugins as well that help improve your site search.
Function Of A WordPress Search Plugin
A lot of people depend on SEO-based practices to generate traffic. But a good search system helps the user stay on your site – and not all of it might be tangible SEO-related elements.
Search plugins help visitors find the content easily. With the right search system, you can boost your conversion rate and user involvement.
Adding a site search helps improve the default search interface.
Yes, WordPress does have a default built-in search feature, but that is limited. The speed is low, and the feature is not flexible. WordPress provides you with numerous search plugins that can enhance the search system of your site and make it more engaging to solve this issue.
Let’s go over some of the best WordPress search plugins.
1. Ivory search
Ivory search can be one of the best replacements of the default search plugin of WordPress as it is versatile and user-friendly. Despite being an advanced plugin, the interface is simple and easy to operate.
It allows you to create your custom search form. You can create an unlimited number of search forms and configure them as per your needs.
This plugin also provides you with the flexibility to display the custom search forms on different locations of your site like header, footer, sidebar or widget area, posts, custom post, navigation, menu, or anywhere else on the site. This is done using shortcodes.
Ivory search allows users to search for specific content in various ways. Users can search the content using post titles, excerpts, custom fields, metadata, taxonomy terms, etc.
Also, the user can easily exclude the posts of certain criteria. This makes searching the content even faster. The Pro version offers a Keyword Stemming feature where one can find the base word for any keyword phrase.
- Customize the search forms using a customizer to suit your needs
- Configure each form separately
- Uses AJAX search
- Can search for specific content through post titles, custom fields, or excerpts
- Exclude specific content category wise
- Provides multilingual search
- Can filter to a great extent using dates, IDs, etc.
- Fuzzy Matching and Keyword Stemming
- Open Source Software
Relevanssi is a feature-rich and powerful WordPress search plugin. It brings you features like fuzzy matching and phrase searching to provide the visitor’s search’s best possible outcomes.
This is the best search plugin if you want something that’s fully customizable. Relevanssi comes with an amazing search engine that’s one of the most accurate and UX-optimized search plugins out there.
Using titles, tags, or comments, users can search the content. Above all these, Relevanssi even highlights the searched terms among the results. You must be familiar with a “Did you mean” suggestion that pops up when the user searches for not-so-relevant content.
This plugin allows you to do that. This can increase user engagement to your site. Relevanssi, with the support of WPML and Polylang, is translation-ready. It is extremely user-friendly. The search terms get highlighted. Users can create custom excerpts to see where the hits are.
It even supports Gutenberg, which students might find quite useful. There is a Search Throttling option to improve performance while working on a large database. The Pro version can search within user profiles and also index attached PDFs.
- Multisite friendly and translation ready
- Fuzzy matching
- Disable indexing of certain content with a simple filter hook
- Supports performance on large databases
- Customize the weight for titles, tags, and comments
- Supports Gutenberg search
- Assign a weight to post types
- Redirect searches or send users to related posts
- Open Source Software along with Premium
3. Search WP
Search WP is a premium plugin that comes with some of the best features to enhance your site’s search system. Moreover, there is no big configuration to set it up. It just needs to be installed and activated.
Once you are done with activation, the default WordPress search plugin gets replaced with Search WP. And your visitors will be able to search through post titles, custom field data, and even the content of PDFs and other documents.
Through Search WP, you can customize your search algorithm using its intuitive interface and weighing system. Another feature offered to you by this advanced plugin is that of keyword stemming. That means even if the user does not search for the exact term, it shows results by using keyword stems.
One main feature is that it can perform a contextual trim. This means that if the tool finds an excerpt that sort of matches the search phrase or term, it snips it out for examination as well.
The Pro License starts at $199 per month, and after a year, you can get a 10% discount. Though Search WP is a premium plugin, its rich features make it worth the value you spend. However, if you are experimenting with plug-ins, check out the other open source options discussed.
- Shows results using keyword stems instead of matching exact terms.
- Can search visitors’ insights and statistics
- Can search within documents
- Search content using custom field or post titles
- Provides multiple search engines so that you can configure each of them with their setting to meet the needs
- Integrates with the native search
4. Advanced Woo Search
Advanced Woo search is a plugin that is designed to develop the search system for Woo-commerce websites. The setup is fast and easy. Once activated, your visitor can easily search for the products in the search box.
You can place the search box wherever you want using a widget or a shortcode. The visitors can search for the products using tags, product ID, and categories. And the search results will appear containing the product image and price.
The company terms this as a smart result display. Another feature is that it displays the results by the priority of the source. Some additional features of this advanced plugin are available in the PRO version.
The premium features include: specifying the source of image for results, presence of Add to cart button in search results, excluding or including products through taxonomies or ids, and much more.
- Synchronize data of all the products
- Search using categories and tags of products
- Smart ordering
- Support AJAX search and Google Analytics
- Can search similar phrases and plurals
- Searches images based on image source data
- Can add stop words to eliminate from search
- Makes translation easier
- Open Source Software
5. Better Search
Better search is a free WordPress search plugin. This plugin improves the search speed and also provides users with a better and powerful search system.
With the Better Search plugin, visitors can find relevant results using the title or the content of the post. And not just my posts. They can search the content using pages and other custom posts.
Moreover, customers can customize the output of the search. They can modify the results by deciding whether the title or the content will have a greater weight. There are several filters and templates to help you extend the plugin’s features.
It also comes with a search tracking option that helps keep track of the most popular searches. A search heatmap option is present so that you can see this.
- Customize the search results
- Relevant and fast search results
- Seamless integration with the theme
- Tracks the most popular searches
- Supports cache plugins
- Various filters and templates to choose from
- Easy to set up and operate
- Profanity filter and stop words included
- Also available for GitHub
- Open Source Software
6. Reactive Search Pro
Reactive Search Pro is yet another one of the best WordPress search plugins to enhance your visitors’ search experience.
It provides you with over 15 search attributes like Range Box, Min-Max button, Color Picker, and a lot more. Code Splitting and Lazy loading are additional features of this plugin that reduce the search results’ load time.
Also, the users can search for any location using the Geo-Box data. This means they can search within a specific geo-location or radius. Reactive Search Pro integrates well with Woo-commerce, Grid builder, and WPML.
You can even customize the box easily using a drag & drop builder. Being a premium plugin, you get dedicated support from the team if you get puzzled up in any step of setting it up.
- Customize using drag & drop builder
- 15 plus search attributes
- Map and geo-location-based search
- Search through metadata, custom posts, taxonomies
- Geo-box and location searching
- In-depth documentation and support
- Translation ready
- Grid builder for streamlined results
- Dedicated support team
7. Ajax Search Pro
Being feature-rich and highly customizable, Ajax Search Pro can be considered one of the best search plugins. Ajax offers over 400 different customization options. You can virtually search items with any type of filter, stop word, and phrasing selection.
It comes with 60 plus customizable themes, beautiful search forms, an intuitive back-end, and high-quality vector icons. Its other search plugin features include checkbox, dropdown, radio button category filters, and custom field filters.
Ajax Search Pro brings you a life Ajax Search that makes the search experience better. The results are even presented with images (if any relevant one is found) that makes them look more appealing.
This plugin also integrates Google Analytics. And it keeps updating itself so as to cover all areas of search plugin functionality. With the 36 USD license, you will also receive 6 months of free support from WPDreams. Ajax allows integration with page builders like Elementor, Divi Page Builder, and more. It also allows Visual Composer integration with an additional feature called Ajax Search Pro Visual Composer plugin.
- Google Analytics integration
- Highly customizable
- Compact layout mode for aesthetics
- Multiple search bars
- Fast fuzzy search and tons of filters
- Various shortcodes and widgets to match the theme
- Results supported with images
- Regular updates and high-quality customer support
8. ACF: Better Search
ACF: Better Search is another one on the list with advanced custom fields. This makes the user’s search experience more accurate and comfortable. This plugin allows the visitors to search using text, text area, email, WYSIWYG Editor, numbers, and URLs.
After a recent update, the ACF search is 75% faster when searching for content. To speed it up even more, you can try enabling the lite mode. However, the lite mode also narrows down the fields it searches for by almost 25%. So it is not suitable for in-depth searches but could be useful for those running short on time.
It also works well while searching for multiple fields. However, this is somewhat limited as compared to the others. With the Flexible Content bar, you can search for similar phrases. After installation, ACF integrates with the existing search bar. With this, you can search for the words in the phrase individually or look for the entire phrase together.
- Advanced custom fields plugin
- Search using phrases for accurate results
- Lite mode to speed up the searching
- Simple to set up and operate
- Supports various field types
- Search using number, email, or URL
- Open-source software
9. Swiftype Site Search
Loaded with features like typo tolerance, stemming, bigram matching, and a lot more, Swiftype site search is one of the most easily manageable WordPress search plugins.
Its intuitive dashboard presents you with all the necessary tools to customize your search. This plugin comes with a really effective feature called automatic updates.
Using this, the search gets automatically synchronized when any changes are made to the content. Additional features of this plugin include synonyms, phrase matching, and multilingual search, to name a few.
Swiftype site search comes with powerful search analytics that helps you respond to your visitors more effectively. You can get a 14 days free trial after entering your credit card information. The Standard license costs 79 USD per month and allows weekly crawling (scanning), unlimited user searches, and core search features only.
- Typo tolerance, bigram matching, stemming, and phrase matching
- Automatic synchronization of the search results on changing the content
- Intuitive dashboard
- Multilingual (supports 13 different languages)
- Search Analytics
- Crawler and API platform integration
- Can search across multiple domains
- Real-time search analytics
To conclude – relevant search results matter!
So, that was the list of the top 9 WordPress search plugins. There are a lot more amazing search plugins available. You have to choose the one that suits your site’s needs as the right search system can boost user engagement greatly.
There are free as well as premium search plugins available.
Some like the Woo-commerce Advanced Search are specifically developed for such sites. You can go with the premium ones like Ajax Search Pro if you are running an e-commerce site or a business.
But even if you go with the free ones, you can still be assured that your search system will improve as compared to the WordPress default one. Ivory Search offers extensive documentation and excellent multi-field searching capabilities.
The overall aim is to create a more user-friendly site and save the user’s time. And in that – all of them perform pretty well!