How to Make Custom Fields Searchable in WordPress
Do you want your visitors to easily search custom fields to find content on your website?
WordPress search doesn’t work with custom fields by default, which can make it harder for your visitors to find what they need. By making custom fields searchable, you can provide a better user experience for your visitors.
In this article, we’ll show you how to make custom fields searchable in WordPress.
What Are Custom Fields & Why Make Them Searchable?
WordPress custom fields allow you to store any kind of additional information (metadata) about a post or page.
WordPress adds metadata such as title, author, date, time, and more to your posts and pages. With custom fields, you can add more information about your content, and display them on your website if you wish. A lot of popular WordPress plugins and themes use custom fields to store important data.
For example, the content you enter in your WordPress SEO plugins such as All in One SEO is technically a custom field, or custom product attributes that you may add to your WooCommerce products sometimes are also custom fields.
However, WordPress doesn’t search content on your website using custom fields. By default, when a visitor uses a search bar on your website, WordPress will only show them results where the title and content match their search terms.
Making your custom fields searchable improves the user experience on your WordPress website. It allows your visitors to search for any content with ease, keeping them on your website longer and reducing any frustration.
That said, let’s look at how you can make custom fields searchable.
Making Custom Field Searchable in WordPresss
The easiest way to make custom fields searchable is by using the SearchWP plugin. It’s the best WordPress search plugin and allows you to adjust the search algorithm without editing code.
The plugin indexes everything on your WordPress site. For instance, it uses custom fields, PDF documents, text, custom tables, files, categories, shortcodes, and more to improve WordPress search for your users.
Besides that, SearchWP works seamlessly with other popular plugins like Advanced Custom Fields, Meta Box, Toolset, Easy Digital Downloads, WooCommerce, and Pods.
To start indexing your custom fields, first you’ll need to install and activate the SearchWP plugin. If you need help, then please see our guide on how to install a WordPress plugin.
Upon activation, you can head over to Settings » SearchWP and then navigate to the ‘Engines’ tab from the WordPress admin panel.
After that, you’ll need to click the ‘Add/Remove Attributes’ button to add custom fields to the search algorithm for your posts, pages, and media.
When you click the button, a popup window will now appear.
Go ahead and click the dropdown menu under Custom Fields and then select the ‘Any Meta Key’ option to make all your custom fields searchable. Or you can type the custom fields you want to include during the search process. if you don’t want to include them all.
Once you’ve chosen the custom fields, simply click the ‘Done’ button.
A custom fields option will now be added to the search algorithm for posts. You can see the ‘Custom Fields’ under the Applicable Attribute Relevance section.
Next, you can adjust the attribute slider to set the relevance weight given to each attribute during a search.
For example, if you move the slider to the right and set it to maximum, then SearchWP will give high preference to the data in the custom fields when searching content on your site.
You can now repeat the step for making custom fields searchable for pages and media files.
After making these changes, don’t forget to click the ‘Save Engines’ button.
SearchWP will now index your content, PDF metadata, custom fields metadata, images, files, and other types of metadata to include in WordPress search.
You’ll be able to see the ‘Index Status’ in the right corner and view how many items the plugin has indexed.
Besides that, SearchWP also offers other customization settings.
For instance, if you go to the ‘Settings’ tab, then you can add stopwords and synonyms to be ignored during the search process to improve relevancy and performance.
The plugin will already have a list by default, but you can add more stopwords if you want. Similarly, you can add synonyms for search terms that you want to ignore while searching.
Next, you can edit more settings by going to the ‘Advanced’ tab.
For example, the plugin lets you enable the option to show partial matches when search terms show no result, limit results to exact matches when double quotes are used, remove minimum word length, and more.
Now, if you want to see the search history and see which queries your users search the most, then head over to the ‘Statistics’ tab.
The plugin will give all the stats about your WordPress search from the past 30 days or the last 1 year. You can use this data to see which queries your users search while on your site and come up with new content ideas.
We hope this article helped you learn how to make custom fields searchable in WordPress. You may also want to look at our guide on how to register a domain name and the best WordPress plugins for business sites.
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