Of WordPress Search

One of my biggest issues with WordPress is about its search. The default search is not really useful, neither does it show the relevancy nor does it search the entire content for results. In the entire content I include the excerpt and the custom fields of posts at the least. It will become a serious issue as WordPress is getting more attention from the corporate world, and might probably become a factor for its comparisons with other candidates. Even from the usability perspective, it is one of the most popular ways of getting information and cannot be ignored. I have found that it is not only me, there have been rants and inputs and contributions from various corners and from various angles. Here are some contributions and ideas from around the web:

Advanced Search by Weblog Tools Collection

Weblog Tools Collection has a nice plugin (through a hack) for enhancing the search. It provides fuzzy searches and some nicer integration in the WordPress.

However, I have a couple of problems with this plugin:

Search Reloaded Plugin by Semiologic

Denis de Bernady’s Search Reloaded Plugin is a more appropriate solution and is an actual plugin. The plugin actually does dynamic indexing. It reindexes whenever a post is edited, saved or published. This is fine, however, it will slow down the response for a heavier database. To be able to support this, indexing has to be carried out separately and probably as a scheduled task. However, it has its own complications and cannot be solved just through a plugin. And even this plugin does not look into other content types like the custom fields.

Latent Semantic Indexing

Elliott points towards Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) for improving the search. It might not be a viable option today, but it might be future of the search industry. Natural Language Processing is already being used in certain search functionalities.

Using Google and Yahoo Search

Another option is using Google and Yahoo Search, something what WordPress.org search does. It is not very difficult to setup. However its problems lie elsewhere. It needs a public web presence, which might not be the case for corporate internal blogs. This has become more possible with the WordPress multiuser version out. Secondly, they will have their own restrictions, and thirdly the dependency on it. This is not going to help WordPress to make it a serious contender in the corporate space.

WordPress is one of the leading CMSs for building blogs. But blogs themselves have transformed into media publications and information management sites. With this happening, search will be a bigger factor to consider. WordPress has to support some solution inherently to be part of improved blogging solutions.

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Copyright Abhijit Nadgouda.

Discussion [Participate or Link]

  1. Abhijit Nadgouda @ iface » More Interesting Uses Of Wordpress said:

    […] search: the search is partially effective. It neither supports relevancy and does not search across pages, excerpts or custom fields. There are certain solutions, but still not what the industry expects. […]

  2. iface thoughts » Blog Archive » An Update On Moving, From Beta To Gamma said:

    […] I am not happy with the default search. I might try some of the alternatives or try something completely new. I already tried the Raw Sugar option, but it has not worked as expected. Maybe I am doing something wrong, need to dig into it. […]

  3. Wordpress Goes Enterprise on iface thoughts said:

    […] I think WordPress really entered the market with the release of WordPress MU. WordPress is a fantastic blogging tool, and being open source it receives contributions from the user-base all over the world. The only think I see lacking in WordPress for enterprise usage is search. Otherwise WordPress has already proven itself in installations like these, and lets not forget WordPress.com. […]

  4. David Esrati said:

    I’ve been looking for boolean functions for posts- for instance- a Real Estate site might want to give visitors the ability to search for all “Commercial property” size- 10,000- 50,000 sq ft, under 1 Million $.
    Haven’t found a good solution yet-
    but did find this plug-in and would be interested in what you think:

  5. Abhijit Nadgouda said:

    Interesting, I will try it out soon. Thanks David.

  6. Lorelle said:

    Have you come up with any good solutions to this yet? I’m really frustrated with the search abilities and have the same reservations about the Plugins you’ve listed. They just aren’t working for me. Any luck yet?

  7. Using Google Co-op on iface thoughts said:

    […] Lorelle’s comment jump-started my will to look for better WordPress search. After some digging around, I decided that I did not want to change the database structure as that could cause problems with future upgrades. This threw away most of the search engines out. Currently I am experimenting with the Google Co-op to create a custom search engine. You can search as well as see the search results on the Search page. I will experiment more, possibly with Rollyo and Yahoo! Search Builder. However, these might not be suitable for many businesses and internal blogs. […]

  8. Abhijit Nadgouda said:

    Thanks for reminding Lorelle 🙂 I have restarted my efforts, currently experimenting with Google Co-op.

  9. Helping WordPress Search With WordPress Plugins « Lorelle on WordPress said:

    […] For another good look at the variety of search options available, and a review of those options, check out “Of WordPress Search” by Abhijit Nadgouda. […]

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Abhijit Nadgouda
iface Consulting
+91 9819820312
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