Super Charge Your WordPress Search

The WordPress built-in default search is poorly configured. Why you might ask, it is because the default search does not factor in the metadata. The default search only uses the title and searches through all pages and posts. To put this in even simpler terms 90%+ of user searches will return no results. This makes it unlikely that any user will want to continue to use your site Search is the cornerstone of any website. It allows people to find what they need whenever they need it.

In case you are unaware I am a software engineer and while most of the time I enjoy solving problems with code. My experience usually dictates that before writing code you need to always flush out all the easier options. From a business perspective, this makes a lot of sense. One technique I like to use is taking your hourly wage and times it by the estimated time it would take you to complete a project. Once you do that for 2-3 approaches you then can pick the most cost-effective one.

In the past, I have written four custom search systems for WordPress. With that being said, I know exactly how long it takes to write it from scratch. I decided that in this situation it would be better to find a simpler workaround. Did some quick searching and found WP Extended Search. I don’t advocate going crazy with plugins. The simplicity and power of this plugin make it a perfect fit for every site that utilizes search.

Overview of Extended Search Settings

General Search Settings

Add title, content, and excerpt data to search.

Select Meta Key Name

Add meta data and custom taxonomies to your search.

Select Taxonomies

Add standard taxonomies like tags and categories to your search.

Author Settings

Add Author name in search.

Select Post Types

Only show post types you want to be searchable. As you can see it also works for custom post types.

Term Relation Type

AND makes you allow for more specific searches will OR will produce more results.

Match Search Term Exactly

Allows you to match partial words and will produce more results.

Select Date to Exclude Older Results

Exclude old results, not recommended.

Posts per Page

Sets page size. Probably good as is.

Search Results Order

Select Relevance, Date, or more. Also switch order with Descending or Ascending.