Posted on 4 September, 2008 By 16 Comments

WordPress – Sort Your Search Results by Relevance Rather Than By Date


week 9 - searching (by g.originals)
Unfortunately, this plugin is no longer available for free. The author has bundled it with another program.

Have you ever searched your own WordPress site for an article you wrote a couple of months ago? Have you been dismayed that the article is not one of the first found results even when you know the title of the article? This is because WordPress sorts search results by date rather than relevance. For example, when I search on ‘Environmental Resources’, I want the first result to be my article, ‘Green Twitter: Environmental Resources‘. Instead WordPress will give me a list of all the articles that mention that title in descending order. Since, I frequently link to my own articles, I am given a list of search results that aren’t that useful.

The solution to this problem is provided by a simple plugin install. Search Reloaded, once installed and activated, will sort articles by relevance, so when I do the search mentioned above I get the expected results. The plugin does this by using the search algorithm in your MySQL database rather than the default WordPress search algorithm. The results aren’t perfect but are SO much better than what is provided in WordPress.

Search Reloaded requires WordPress version 2.3 and higher.

To use:

  1. Download
  2. Extract file from zip
  3. Upload to your plugins folder
  4. Activate
  5. Enjoy

I recommend searching the same term before and after installing the plugin so you can see what a difference it makes.

photo credit: g.originals

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16 Responses to “WordPress – Sort Your Search Results by Relevance Rather Than By Date”

  • I love the Search Reloaded plugin – I’ve been using it for the past 3 months without issue.

    There is one issue though: Do you know if there a way to search comments, along with posts?


  • Hi SDK – Thanks for visiting and for commenting.

    There is a plugin called Search Everything that does just that. You can specify what it does and doesn’t search and comments are included.

    I have not tested it so I don’t know if works seamlessly with Search Reloaded.

    I think you have just given me an idea for an article :-)

  • thx Kim…

    i’ve tried the Search Everythng plugin but it didn’t fit the needs for our site – the Search Reloaded plugin is 95% perfect – it would be 100% if it could only search comments – actually, an interface to admin the plugin would even be better ;)

  • SDK – It might be worth asking the Search Reloaded plugin developer if searching comments could be included. I’ve found most plugin developers to be really helpful when I’ve asked questions. At any rate, Search Reloaded does make the WordPress search function actually useful.

  • I have tried. I’ve posted to his support forum, to the wordpress forum and various other blogs. No one has responded as of yet.

    It’s the best search plugin for our site, I believe. The ability to search comments would make it 100% in my mind.

  • Hmm … that stinks. You never know what’s going to happen. Some plugin developers are really responsive and others not all. You might want to keep an eye on the article I’m posting tomorrow – some plugin assistance might come from that.

  • He want us to pay $300 to be a pro user -.-
    and u got to be a pro user to download the plugin!!

    Miguel´s last blog post – Louca Amizade – Grupo Tô Legal

  • Hi Miguel – Thank you for letting me know. I didn’t know that this plugin was no longer free. I will edit my articles that reference this plugin.

  • It appears that SemiLogic has placed the Search Reloaded plugin under a 300$ package, unless i am mistaking. When i click on your link to download the plugin, it takes you to a page that says this plugin is exclusivly available to semilogic pro customers. Hitting that link throws you at one of those stupid-as-hell-long-freaking pages that try to sell you something that will make you rich, which apparently includes this plugin. and its 300$ !!!
    Anyways, i am just curious if i am not seeing it, or if they are trying to sell it ( for a stupid as hell price IMHO )

    David Kilmer´s last blog post – displaying thumb-slides on cer…

    • Hi David,

      I thought I had made a note of that at the top of the article but I hadn’t. So, I just did.

      When I wrote this article the plugin was freely available but has since been bundled with SemiLogic, which is not free.

      I haven’t found an alternative that works as good – but there is a plugin called Better Search

      or use google search.

      • No problems, i just wanted to make sure i want nuts LOL

        and i guess i had some mild depression about this plugin, as i reallllllly want it.

        I checked out better search plugin, but alas, i have a bunch of filters already programed in my search results page, the plugin has no effect on the results.

        Its alright as i have been creating my own relevancy functionality. Quite fun, and ill post my info on my blog :D

        Thank you :D

        David Kilmer´s last blog post – displaying thumb-slides on cer…

  • If it was previously released under the GPL, then that old package is free, and anyone is free to build upon it. Anyone got an old GPL version of this plugin? I’ll gladly try to get it up and running with the latest WP and make a new release!
    .-= Peter G´s last blog ..Google Wave Coverage – May 2009 eNewsletter =-.

  • This is the new Search plugin to use for those who want their users to get to the right post/page and not leave your blog right away…

    Relevanssi – Better search for WordPress

    It was just updated (at the end of 2010) and is highly commendable plugin. It is not mine, but please spread the word about it so that people get where they need to go!

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Kim Woodbridge is an accomplished Information and Technical Consultant specializing in the entire implementation of a WordPress based website including installation, theme design, upgrades, unique customizations and ongoing site maintenance.

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