In the ever-evolving digital landscape, user experience plays a pivotal role in the success of any website. When it comes to content-driven platforms like WordPress, an efficient search functionality is indispensable. Users expect to find relevant information swiftly, and one way to meet this demand is by enabling the WordPress search to sort results by relevance.
The Importance of Relevant Search Results
Users often navigate through a website using its search feature to find specific information. A search that returns irrelevant or poorly sorted results can lead to frustration and a negative user experience. By default, WordPress search results are sorted by date, which may not always be the most user-friendly approach, especially as your content library grows.
In this article, we will see how to create a custom search engine for WordPress that has a robust sort by relevance feature inbuilt. We will also see how the default WordPress search works and how we can improve that with an external plugin.
The Problem with the Default WordPress search relevance
The default WordPress search only considers the following three parameters for its search relevance:
When you do a search on WordPress, it usually does a LIKE match on the title, content and excerpt and then it is sorted by Title matches and then by recent post dates. This results in a sub par WordPress search relevance that can end up giving a bad customer experience on your WordPress site.
Enabling Relevance-Based Sorting
Thankfully, WordPress provides the flexibility to enhance the search functionality and improve the way results are presented. To enable search sorting by relevance, you can follow these simple steps:
1. Install a Relevant Search Plugin
WordPress offers various plugins that can significantly enhance the default search functionality. One popular option is the “Relevanssi” plugin. After installing and activating the plugin, it automatically replaces the default WordPress search with a more powerful and relevant search engine.
2. Configure Relevanssi Settings
Once the Relevanssi plugin is activated, navigate to the plugin settings in your WordPress dashboard. Configure the settings to customize how the search results are displayed. You can choose to sort results by relevance and adjust other parameters to fine-tune the search experience according to your preferences.
3. Customize Search Results Page
To ensure that the relevance-based sorting is visually appealing and aligns with your website’s design, you may need to make some adjustments to the search results page. This could involve modifying the search.php file or using custom CSS styles to format the results appropriately.
4. Optimize Content for Search
While sorting by relevance is crucial, it’s equally important to have well-optimized content. Ensure that your articles and pages contain relevant keywords, clear headings, and well-structured content. This not only aids the search algorithm in delivering accurate results but also enhances the overall SEO of your website.
5. Monitor and Analyze
After implementing relevance-based sorting, it’s essential to monitor and analyze the impact on user engagement. Use tools like Google Analytics to track search behaviour and identify areas for improvement. Regularly updating and optimizing your content will contribute to an even more refined search experience over time.
Expertrec custom search will return results based on their overall relevance. You will be able to edit the relevance based on multiple post features such as the title, post content, meta tag description, URL permalink, post views, categories and more. Even if you have added any new fields using plugins such as advanced custom fields, even these fields can be taken into consideration.This aids in producing better search results that are suited to your website’s business needs.
- Take a backup of your existing wordpress setup with the backup guard WordPress plugin.
- Go to custom search engine creator and sign in with your Gmail id.
- Enter your website URL.
- Enter your sitemap URL if you have one.
- Initiate a website crawl. (this crawls all your website URLs and creates an usable search engine for your website).
- Once the crawl completes, install the WP fastest site search plugin which adds a search box similar to the image below.
- Copy your API key from your dashboard.
- Open the settings page of your WP fastest site search and paste it there.
- This adds the search engine to your WordPress site along with the search by relevance feature.
The Future of WordPress Search
As technology advances, so does the potential to further enhance WordPress search capabilities. Integrating artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) into the search functionality could lead to even more accurate and personalized results. Keeping an eye on emerging trends in search technology will allow you to stay ahead of the curve and continuously provide an exceptional user experience.
In conclusion, enabling relevance-based sorting in WordPress searches is a fundamental step toward improving user satisfaction. By leveraging plugins like Relevanssi and optimizing your content, you can create a seamless and efficient search experience for your website visitors. As the digital landscape continues to evolve, staying proactive in enhancing your WordPress search functionality will undoubtedly contribute to the success and growth of your online platform.