No matter how easy your website is to navigate, there will always be visitors who can’t find what they are looking for. So, are you planning to improve the visitor search experience on your WordPress site? Reliable search plugins are the best way to do so. By default, WordPress has a search feature, but it’s quite basic and can be restraining.
The Search plugins embellish or replace the default WordPress search engine to give visitors more precise search results and better user experience. In this article, we have handpicked 10 of our favorite WordPress(free and premium) search plugins. Before that, we will discuss why you actually need a search plugin and what makes a search system powerful and good.
Why do you need a Search Plugin?
As mentioned above, the default search feature of WordPress is not up to par like the other WordPress features. Not only is it lacking in speed and flexibility, but it also has a common and boring appearance. Whereas, the search system plugins can provide plenty of benefits for every website.
Apart from helping visitors to find what they need, it will also help you to know what they are searching for. Search logs permit you to see the terms and pages visitors are seeking. This information allows you to create content or offer products appropriate for those searches. With the accurate plugin, you can have a search system for your site that is not only faster and more precise but also more attractive.
Without an effective search system on the website, you are surely going to lose many of your visitors. This is going to have a serious impact on your Bounce Rate and your SEO ranking. Luckily, there are many amazing WordPress search plugins designed to help out in that case. But for that, we need to know what really makes a WordPress search plugin so appealing.
Also read: SEO Simplified for Beginners in 15 steps
What makes a good search function?
We have already discussed the general factors to consider while choosing a plugin. In order to choose a search plugin, there are some more factors you have to consider regarding its functionality.
- Speed and accuracy: A low-speed search on your website will be definitely unsatisfactory for the visitors. Thus, any powerful search system plugin must be fast. They will assure that the search is fast enough that nobody gets bored. And obviously, if the search system fails to provide accurate results then there is no point in it.
- Search Logs: The search logs help you to find out what your visitors want. They keep an eye on what visitors are searching for, which gives you the information needed to market products to them. If you realize what your users want, you will be able to cater to their needs much more efficiently.
- Phrase searching: Your system must be able to use phrase searching to get the best results. Most visitors won’t type the exact name of a blog or product on your website. They are going to get only a small part of it right and it’s up to the search system to do the rest. Through phrase searching, visitors can depreciate their search results but specifying how they want the words to appear.
- Search bar: The plugin must surely have a visible search bar. It should be extremely clear where the search box to your visitors otherwise your visitors are going to go somewhere else. Most plugins offer multiple options to choose from for this reason.
Now let’s go through our list of the 10 best free and premium WordPress search plugins.
As you all know, the WooCommerce Plugin is a great choice if you are intending to create an online store. WooCommerce offers a search system called the Advanced Woo Search which is an integral part of any website having WooCommerce. Using this tool, visitors will be able to efficiently search through all of your products. Also, it is fast, user-friendly, and provides many other astonishing features. To place a search box, you can have a shortcode or a widget anywhere you want and you’re ready to find the result.
It offers various customization options, supports many languages, smart ordering and above all it’s free. It also permits users to search in the product title, content, categories, excerpt, tags, as well as SKUs(stock keeping unit). Each search result can display the product image and price to help make things clear. This is the finest search plugin convenient for any website that uses WooCommerce.
2. Ajax Search
Ajax Search is a deeply customizable WordPress plugin that integrates a live search engine to your website. The pro version of the plugin, Ajax Search Pro displays search results with thumbnails as soon as the visitor types their keyword or key phrase. That is, right after the visitors start typing their search terms, pops up a list of search results – no page reloads or sticking around. It offers support for searching custom fields and keyword highlighting and carries filters for categories, custom post types, taxonomies, etc. The pro version also permits users to search within attachments, and there’s additional integration for multiple WordPress plugins such as BuddyPress.
The core plugin, Ajax Search Lite can be downloaded for free. It has an easy-to-use backend, and nearly all features can be turned on and off in a click. You will be able to include the AJAX powered search form into your site with the free version too. The search is also designed to be extremely user-friendly, with a clean interface, mobile support, as well as some smooth animations. You can customize thumbnail sizes and the source of thumbnails, and use one of the eight inherent form templates. Images can also be cached to better the performance.
SearchWP is one of the most popular WordPress search plugins. Sadly, it only has a premium version, but the benefit of that is that you get a lot of great functionality for improving all features of your search. Even though SearchWP is highly advanced, it is easy to set up and doesn’t need a lengthy configuration. Just install and activate the plugin. Thus your visitors will be permitted to search over all parts of your site. This even includes eCommerce products, custom field data, as well as the content of PDFs and other documents.
It also merges perfectly with many popular WordPress plugins such as WooCommerce, bbPress, Easy Digital Downloads, Advanced Custom Fields, and more. This tool integrates into the native WordPress search system, so you won’t need to do anything special to set it up. Another vital feature of SearchWP is the ability to easily personalize your search algorithm.
Also read: Best WordPress security plugins
4. Ivory Search
Ivory search is one of the best and versatile custom search plugins for developers who like to customize every feature of their website. It allows developers to create an unlimited number of their own custom search forms. You can configure each of them individually to suit the needs of your website. Another unique feature of Ivory Search is the ability to search for password-protected content.
The free version of Ivory Search has various features that you won’t get in any other search plugins, like the availability of posts created within a specific date range. Users can search within posts, custom post types, pages, taxonomies, categories, and more. Ivory Search also gives you great control over what content is expelled from searches, and it harmonizes with many popular WordPress plugins, such as bbPress and WooCommerce. The premium version of the plugin is also quite affordable.
As we mentioned earlier, speed is the most important thing when it comes to searches. In fact, ACF: Batter search is the fastest plugin on this list. This plugin requires your WordPress site to have an activated Advanced Custom Fields set up. Through ACF, your users can use the default search engine in WordPress to search from a selection of advanced custom fields. It is great for websites of any size.
One of the key features of this plugin is its lite mode. This mode accelerates the searches even quicker. With this plugin, you can search by text, text area, Number, Email, and URL, etc. ACF is also one of the transparent and simplest, yet effective, plugins on the list.
Relevanssi is yet another well-known WordPress search plugin that is available in both a limited free version and a full-featured premium version. If you are looking out for a feature-rich and configurable search engine, then you can definitely have Relevanssi. It will give you more inclusive and appropriate search results, along with nice features like Google-style “did you mean?” search suggestions. Relevanssi also allows phrase searching, and even permits you to set the weight of titles, tags, and comments.
To make things smoother for the visitors, the plugin highlights the searched term among the search results. In addition to WordPress multi-site support, Relevanssi inherently supports many popular WordPress plugins such as bbPress, WPML, and Members. It also has an improved content indexing, including an option to index the contents of shortcodes and attachments. But, if there is not enough space available, this plugin may not work as intended.
If you want a refined WordPress search plugin that still maintains to be highly customizable, you should definitely check out Swiftype Site Search. Without any programming or coding required, you can have a quick and safe search for your website. It comes with a dashboard that has all the substantial tools to help customize your search. It allows you to display a search system that is not just powerful but engaging as well. It runs an advanced search algorithm to rank the search results, yet you can modify the rank by just drag and drop it in the Swiftype dashboard.
This plugin also provides automatic updates, meaning that search results will automatically coordinate if you make any sort of alterations to your content. A few other influential features include stemming, phrase matching, bigram matching, typo tolerance synonyms, etc. Swiftype Site Search can also help you understand your visitors through its impressive search analytics. You can also choose between 13 different languages, including German, Chinese, French, Russian, etc.
Also read: Best WordPress Job Listing Plugins
8. Facet WP
Facet WP helps you add faceted search functionality to your WordPress site. Faceted search is something you will commonly see at eCommerce stores and directories. This plugin can actually integrate with the SearchWP plugin from above to get the best of both worlds. Like SearchWP, FacetWP comes in a modular set of extensions that let you pick and choose exactly which features you want.
Once you install the relevant extensions, you can create your first facet using a simple interface. It can create its own search index for better performance and has 13 different filter types including maps, search, proximity etc. FacetWP only comes in a premium version. Plans start at $99 per year for use on up to 3 sites and the option to filter post types. 13 different filter types, including date/number ranges, maps, search, proximity, and more
9. WP Solr
WP Solr is a flexible WordPress search solution that is famous among online store owners because of the support it provides to plugins such as WooCommerce, Yoast SEO, and Advanced Custom Fields. It comes with 23 add-ons which help to integrate WP Solr with other services, as well as other WordPress plugins and themes. WP Solr has the ability to use one of the two powerful search platforms: Elasticsearch or Apache Solr. It supports all custom post types, taxonomies, custom fields, and attached files. WP Solr cost a one-time fee of €49 and comes with lifetime updates and support. The price-per-website for WP Solr reduces as you purchase the software for more websites.
The developers permit you to download the software and test it before buying it. And if you run into problems you will definitely get help from their support forum.
10. Jetpack Search
Jetpack is one of the most popular WordPress plugins available on the market today. And with features such as website statistics, brute force protection, unlimited image hosting, etc, you know why it’s popular. The Jetpack Search comes with the Professional plan of Jetpack Plugin which costs £25 per month. Powered by Elasticsearch, Jetpack Search replaces the default WordPress search functionality to give higher quality results to the visitors.
Jetpack Search can improve the search in many ways. It supports millions of queries, indexes your content in real-time, and displays search results instantly. One feature that has attracted many people to select Jetpack Search is its support of filters. It allows website users to filter by tags, custom taxonomies, dates, categories, authors, and post types. You can customize the search algorithm too, and there are no limitations on how many searches are performed or how you use the Elasticsearch API.
So that was our list of top 10 WordPress search plugins you can find. We have included both free and premium plugins so that you can choose the best plugin according to your budget and needs. These plugins let you improve the relevance of search results and allow you to control the factors that are used in the search algorithm. There are a lot of great search plugins for WordPress, each with their own different strengths. Finally, we hope that this article helped pick one that suits your needs. See you in the next article!