12 WordPress Search Plugins to Improve Your Site Search


Do you want to improve your WordPress site search? We all know that the default WordPress search feature is fairly limiting. However, there are several WordPress search plugins that can help you improve the default search experience. In this article, we will highlight the best WordPress search plugins and tutorials to customize and improve your site search.

1. SearchWP


SearchWP is a powerful custom search plugin for WordPress. It is very easy to use and the search results are relatively more accurate.

It allows searches for your keyword in post/page title, content, slug, categories, tags, taxonomies, excerpt and even comments. You can control the algorithm by assigning weight to each content type from 1 to 10 where 10 being the highest.

Upon activation, the plugin automatically indexes your content and replaces the default search feature in WordPress. See our article on how to improve WordPress search with SearchWP for more detailed instructions.

2. Adding a Taxonomy Filter to WordPress Search

Ajax based WordPress Search Plugin

If you are using categories, tags, or any other custom taxonomy to sort content, then adding a taxonomy filter to search can greatly help users narrow down the results.

Ajax WP Query Search Filter allows you to create custom WordPress search forms with checkboxes for taxonomies, post types and custom fields.

It uses Ajax to load results, so it works really fast and provides a better experience for users. Take a look at our tutorial on how to add ajax taxonomy filter in WordPress search to learn more.

3. Swiftype Search

Swiftype Search Engine for WordPress

Switype is a site search service that comes with a free and paid version. Their WordPress plugin replaces your default WordPress search with Swiftype.

Swiftype will index your documents, and it works way faster than default WordPress search. Results are extremely relevant. Swiftype will also store user searches and will show you what users searched for, what they clicked on, and other cool analytics.

See our guide on how to improve WordPress search With Swfitype search for step by step instructions.

4. Google Custom Search for WordPress

Google Custom Search for WordPress Sites

When it comes to search, Google is undoubtedly the king. The good thing is that you can create a custom Google search engine for your site and integrate it into WordPress.

The downside is that it comes with Google’s personal branding, which may not be so bad because users already trust this brand.

We have a step by step tutorial on how to add Google search in a WordPress site.

5. Search by Category

Search by category plugin for WordPress

Category Wise Search plugin allows you to add a category drop down to WordPress search. Users can limit their search to a specific category to narrow down the results. The plugin also allows you to exclude categories from the search, and you can easily add it using a widget for your sidebar.

Take a look at our article on how to search by category in WordPress.

6. Highlight Search Terms

Highlighting search terms in WordPress search results

Highlighting search terms in the results page can help improve the user experience. It also increases the chances of them finding what they are looking.

If you are using the default WordPress search, then you can easily implement this by editing the search results template in your child theme. For detailed instructions see our article on how to highlight search terms in WordPress search results.

7. Display Search Term and Result Count in WordPress

Displaying search term and result count in WordPress search

There are several things you can do by editing your theme or child theme’s search.php template. One of these things is to show users the search term and the number of results. Simply add this code to your search.php template.

  <h1 class="page-title">Search Result for <?php /* Search Count */ $allsearch = &new WP_Query("s=$s&showposts=-1"); $key = wp_specialchars($s, 1); $count = $allsearch->post_count; _e(''); _e('<span class="search-terms">'); echo $key; _e('</span>'); _e(' &mdash; '); echo $count . ' '; _e('articles'); wp_reset_query(); ?></h1>  

This code will simply display search term and the number of results found. You can use .search-terms CSS class to highlight the search terms using CSS.

8. Create an Advanced Search Form For Custom Post Types

Advanced custom WordPress search form for post types

Custom Post Types allow you to add different content types to your WordPress site. For example, at WPBeginner we use custom post types for Glossary and Deals sections.

Many WordPress sites have custom post types for products, reviews, recipes, etc. However, the default WordPress search is not very good at handling post types. Wouldn’t it be nice if you had a search form where users can just check what post type they want to search and narrow down their results?

We have a detailed tutorial on how to create an advanced search form in WordPress for Custom Post Types.

9. Simply Exclude

Exclude specific content from custom WordPress search

Sometimes you may want to exclude specific content from search results. Simply Exclude is a WordPress plugin that allows you to exclude content based on your selected criteria.

For example, you can exclude all posts tagged featured, or all posts in category showcase, etc. Take a look at our tutorial on how to exclude specific pages, authors, and more from WordPress search.

10. Using Multiple Search Forms in WordPress

The default WordPress search may be useless, but with little tweaks it can be improved quite a lot.

Earlier we mentioned creating a search form for custom post types. But what if you wanted to show different search forms on different pages? How about showing more than one search form in WordPress?

This can be easily achieved by creating different search forms and search results templates with different queries. Take a look at our tutorial on how to use multiple search forms in WordPress for detailed instructions.

11. Adding Search Form in a WordPress Post

Sometimes you may want to add a search form inside a post or page to encourage users to search for content on your site. The default WordPress search form is a plain HTML form. However, if you wanted to add the search form inside your posts or pages, the HTML will be stripped by WordPress.

This can be resolved by creating a simple shortcode that displays the search form and then using the shortcode inside your post or page. Simply add this code to your theme’s functions.php file or a site-specific plugin.

  add_shortcode('wpbsearch', 'get_search_form');  

Use shortcode [wpbsearch] to display search form inside your post/pages. For more detailed instructions take a look at our tutorial on how to add search form in your post with a WordPress search shortcode. You can also add a custom WordPress search form using this method.

12. Add Voice Search in WordPress

Preview of voice search in WordPress

If you have a smartphone, then you are probably familiar with voice search using Siri, Google Now, or Cortana. Wouldn’t it be nice if you can bring voice search functionality to your WordPress site? Well now you can.

WordPress Voice Search plugin allows you to add voice search capabilities to your WordPress search form.

See our article on how to add voice search in WordPress.

We hope this article helped you improve your WordPress search. You may also want to check out the best WordPress tools and plugins for affiliate marketers.

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