Having a functioning search system is absolutely integral for a website in this day and age. It doesn’t matter if you’re running a blog, online store, business site or anything else, your website needs to have a way for visitors to find the content they are looking for. With the internet as saturated with content as it is, you can’t afford to lag behind when it comes to features. In fact, just having a search system isn’t enough these days. With people so accustomed to Google, you need a very well-designed one at the very least. Without a good search system in place, you are inevitably going to push many of your visitors away. This is going to have a significant impact on your Bounce Rate and consequently, your SEO. Fortunately, there are a ton of amazing WordPress search plugins designed to help out in that case.
List Of The Best Search WordPress Plugins
Ajax Search WordPress
Ajax Search is a highly customizable WordPress plugin that adds a live search engine to your website. The Ajax-powered search form displays beautiful search results with thumbnails as the visitor types their keyword or key phrase.
The core plugin, which can be downloaded for free, has a user-friendly backend, and most features can be switched on and off at the click of a button. You can customize thumbnail sizes and the source of thumbnails, and use one of eight built-in form templates. Images can also be cached to improve performance.
The default search functionality of WordPress is extended considerably. Visitors will now be able to search within custom post types, categories, custom fields and more. Google Analytics can be integrated, and the whole plugin is translatable too.
The pro version of Ajax Search retails at only $36. It adds support for searching custom fields and keyword highlighting, and adds filters for categories, custom post types, taxonomies and more. The pro version also allows users to search within attachments, and there’s additional integration for multiple WordPress plugins such as BuddyPress. Google keyword suggestions and autocomplete are available in the pro version too.
A host of additional styling options are also provided. There are more than a hundred editable themes, four layouts and hundreds of other additional admin options. The sheer volume of customization options is impressive. If you’re looking to improve the user-experience of visitors searching your website, Ajax Search is a great option.
Relevanssi is one of the most popular WordPress search solutions on the market. Its name stems from its goal to help WordPress users display search results by relevance. The free version of the plugin is packed full of features, allowing you to highlight search terms, use fuzzy matching for partial words, and search for phrases and quotes. Users can also search through comments, tags, categories, custom fields, taxonomies, and custom post types. A useful ‘Did you mean?’ the feature gives visitors suggestions too.
In addition to WordPress multi-site support, Relevanssi natively supports many popular WordPress plugins such as bbPress, WPML, and Members. The premium version of Relevanssi enhances the plugin in many ways. It adds attachment and PDF content indexing, searching across sub-sites, and indexing and searching for user profile pages and taxonomy term pages.
It also lets you adjust the weight each post type and taxonomy is given in the search algorithm and adds the ability to index and search any column in your wp_posts database. Upgrading to the premium version will cost you £94.85 per year, or a one-off fee of £286.44. Both licenses offer support for an unlimited number of websites. Relevanssi is one of the best free search solutions for WordPress, and the premium version adds some great features.
Because the plugin requires a lot of additional storage, large businesses and other high-traffic websites should test it thoroughly before going live. The developers note that their plugin will use about three times as much storage as your wp_posts database table.
Dave’s WordPress Live Search
An alternative to Ajax Search you may want to consider is Dave’s WordPress Live Search. The plugin lets you define the number of live search results that appear, and whether they appear when the user enters one, two, three or four characters. Live results can show metadata, thumbnails, post excerpts, and a ‘View More Results’ link.
There are three color schemes. Gray, red and blue. Or you can style results yourself. You can do this via CSS, though the color pickers that are available for each section are much simpler to use.
Dave’s WordPress Live Search also lets you exclude content from live searching, but, on the whole, the plugin doesn’t have as many features or styling options as Ajax Search. That said, it’s still worth checking out because it’s easy to use and displays live search results almost instantly.
WP Google Search
WP Google Search provides a simple way of integrating Google Custom Search into your WordPress website via a widget. To do this, you need to register at https://www.google.com/cse/ to get a Google Search Engine ID. Once you have the ID, just enter it into the plugin settings page, and you’re good to go.
Options are limited. You’ll find an option to display a search bar at the top of search results, an option to open links in a new tab and some CSS correction options. There are no options in the plugin widget beyond changing the widget title.
The vast majority of customization options can be found in Google’s Custom Search area. You can change the look and feel of search results there, and also enable features such as autocomplete. If you’re looking to integrate Google search results into your website, WP Google Search provides a user-friendly bridge for doing just that.
Ivory Search is a feature-rich WordPress search plugin that allows you to create an unlimited number of search forms for your website. It boasts a user-friendly interface where hundreds of options can be enabled or disabled with just one click. The free version of Ivory Search has many unique features you won’t find in other search plugins, such as the ability to only search within password-protected posts or posts created within a specific date range.
Users can search within posts, pages, categories, taxonomies, custom post types and more. Ivory Search gives you great control over what content is excluded from searches too, and it integrates with many popular WordPress plugins, such as bbPress and WooComerce.
The pro version of Ivory Search retails at only $19.99 per year. This plan unlocks additional functionality such as searching specific author posts and excluding posts that have a specific post status. The pro plus license costs $49.99 per year. Upgrading to this version lets visitors search within the WooCommerce SKU, and search images, attachments, and other media.
With the free version offering many advanced options, and the premium licenses being priced competitively, Ivory Search is easy to recommend.
While there may not be as many WordPress search plugins on the market as contact form plugins or social media plugins, there are a few good search solutions that just missed our list but are worth mentioning.
Better Search is a free WordPress plugin that replaces the default WordPress search engine with more relevant results. It allows you to specify the weight factor of the article title, and content and thumbnails can be displayed in search results. Those of you who use Advanced Custom Fields may find ACF: Better Search useful. Once this free plugin is activated, visitors will be able to search in content from custom fields you’ve created.
At the higher end of the market is Swiftype, offering a powerful site search service and a WordPress plugin that connects your website to your Swiftype account. However, with plans starting from $79 per month, it’s perhaps a service that only large businesses should consider. Another popular premium search service is Algolia, which is used by high-traffic websites such as Twitch.
Plans start from a more affordable $35 per month, but there’s also a community plan that includes 10,000 records and 100,000 indexing operations per month. This should allow a sufficient number of searches for many websites, so it’s worth checking out. Be sure to install Algolia’s official WordPress plugin to integrate it into your website.
The last honorable mention goes to Site Search 360, another premium service that has a WordPress plugin. It’s a customizable solution that looks great, but, thankfully, prices are more sensible.
The free plan allows 150 pages indexed and 1,000 queries per month. However, upgrading to the Columbo plan for only $9 per month increases this limit to 1,500 pages indexed and 5,000 queries per month.
Conclusion About WordPress Search Plugins
So that was our list! Those are the best WordPress search plugins you can find. Both free and premium themes have been included so you can choose the best plugin according to your needs. There are a lot of great search plugins for WordPress, each with their own different strengths. Just take care and consider carefully before picking one for your site. We hope you found this article to be helpful. If you want to learn how to effectively implement a search system into your website, you can take a look at our article on WordPress Search. Any comments? Please let us know in the comment section below.