We’ve redesigned ThematoSoup, as you may notice. With that body overhaul done, I thought it would be nice to do a regular engine service and upgrade a part or two.
Good search functionality is what all search engines are about, but it’s also a trait of usable websites. There’s a lot of search plugins out there, but only several worth mentioning:
It’s a fact that good search functionality means a more usable website, which means more time people spend on your website, which then means more conversions. Native WordPress search functionality, although constantly improving, has never been up to the task. Let’s see how the plugins stack up.
Swiftype is fairly new WordPress plugin. Some of the nicer features of Swiftype include:
- Cloud-based service, doesn’t strain your servers
- Highly relevant search results
- Analytics of what users are searching
- Autocomplete feature
- Manually override search results
The plugin works by sending an index of all your WordPress content to Swiftype servers, so your server never gets cluttered and since Swiftype doesn’t use MySQL at all, search results come up much faster.
The Swiftype Search plugin replaces the standard WordPress search with a better search engine that is fully customizable via the Swiftype dashboard.
During all this time, Swiftype service collects data and stores it in your Swiftype dashboard, where you can analyze them and make some manual changes to search results if you want to.
You need to sign up for an account to use this plugin. The dashboard gives you analytics data and you can make tweaks to your search engine there.
yolink Search is a paid service, but it has free plans, too. If you have less than 5000 visitors a month, no advertisements and use it on personal website, you can have it for free. To sum it up, it’s free for personal users and businesses plans start from $60/year.
Optimize your site search, increase time on site, and help help drive organic SEO with the most powerful search plugin for WordPress.
Some advantages of running yolink on your website are:
- Uses its own search servers, so your website performance doesn’t suffer
- Nicely highlighted words in search results
- Multisite search functionality
- Related articles displayed with blog posts
- Improved indexes for large business websites (paid option)
On the negative side, you do need to create an account in order to have yolink on your website and if you decide to use the free version of this plugin, you won’t get much of the customer support. The staff is not eager to respond to WordPress related issues.
Relevanssi has been around for a long time, so it’s a well maintained and regularly updated plugin. Once you install it, you first need to build the index in order for it to work. Relevanssi doesn’t use cloud based search service as the two previous plugins, so it may be a little slower.
Relevanssi replaces the default search with a partial-match search that sorts results by relevance. It also indexes comments and shortcode content.
You’ll find some nice options here, which could be better organized, but I found zero problems configuring it.
A couple of features I should point out are:
- No registration
- Search comments, tags, categories, custom fields
- ‘Did you mean…?’ suggestions
- Posts highlight the search term matches
- Exclude posts, pages, tags or categories from search
- Match partial words, if complete words don’t match
Here’s a nice video that explains briefly how the plugin works -
You can change weight of your post titles, comment text, tags and categories depending on what you find most important. If you’re not satisfied with the options of the free plugin, there’s premium version, as well.
Whichever search plugin you choose, you’ll greatly improve your website experience and hopefully keep visitors on your website a little longer. Good search functionality gives people a lot of power and is a major time-saver. As you already know, happy users are the ones that are likely to convert.
We’re currently running Relevanssi on our site. I’ll report back once I gather enough data about visitor behavior. If you have experience with WordPress search plugins or know a trick or two on how to configure them for maximum effect, share it with me; I’m an SEO guy and search has always been my thing.