Are your visitors frustrating by irrelevant results when searching your site? The default WordPress search feature is so basic, it’s probably not indexing all the content your visitors are searching for. In our SearchWP review, find out how this plugin can power up your search and give your visitors the results they need.

SearchWP Review

Why You Need SearchWP

On a very basic WordPress blog, the built-in search feature may be enough.

But as WordPress has grown in popularity, basic blogs are in the minority. Now that WordPress is considered a full CMS, it’s used for all kinds of sites with all kinds of content.

If you sell products, use custom fields, or upload PDF or Word documents, you’ve probably noticed that your visitors can’t find that information via WordPress search.

And if your visitors can’t find what they’re looking for, they’re going to leave and look elsewhere.

With bad search results, you’re leaving traffic and revenue on the table.

SearchWP is a premium plugin that modifies the WordPress search feature, indexing more of your content so it can create more relevant results.

Unlike WordPress native search, the SearchWP plugin will index and search through your:

  • custom fields
  • taxonomy terms
  • eCommerce product details and descriptions
  • content generated by shortcodes
  • even PDF, Office, and document content

With better search results on your website, your users will be happy to be able to find the results they need.

How to Set Up SearchWP

SearchWP is very easy to set up. It’s designed to be a turnkey search solution that doesn’t need any extensive configuration — all you need to do is install and activate the plugin.

(However, there are still more advanced options if you’re a developer or want to customize your search results — more on that below.)

After installing and activating the plugin, you’ll see a confirmation message. Your content is now being indexed.

SearchWP Review - indexing

Actually, that’s all you really need to do! The plugin is now set up and working.

You can click the View progress and settings link for more information, and to see when it’s done indexing your content.

You can also navigate to the settings at Settings » SearchWP.

Here you’ll see you can customize how much priority to give every aspect of your content in search results, and even exclude certain kinds of content.

SearchWP Review - customize

You can click that blue Statistics link at the top to view all searches made on your site.

For more details on customizing your search results, see the WPBeginner post, How to Improve WordPress Search with SearchWP.

Supplemental Search Engines

What if you want to have different search engines in different areas of your site?

For example, you might have a FAQ or knowledgebase that you want visitors to be able to search, without random content like blog posts showing up in the results.

No problem, you can create multiple search forms with SearchWP.

At the bottom of the Settings » SearchWP page, just click the Add New Supplemental Engine button.

SearchWP Review - supplemental

Check off the things you’d like to index for this type of search, and click the Save Changes button.

Now, to actually use this search engine on your site, you’ll need to create a specific search form for the supplemental engine. You can check out the SearchWP knowledgebase for a detailed tutorial and code examples on how to do so.

SearchWP Extensions

SearchWP also has a number of extensions available to add even more features to your search, including:

  • bbPress Integration: allow visitors to search through forum threads
  • Boolean Search: add support for excluding results based on keyword
  • Co-Authors Plus Integration: indexes and searches authors created with Automattic’s Co-Authors Plus plugin
  • FacetWP: adds Amazon-like filtering to any WordPress content listing
  • Fuzzy Matches: include search terms that are close in spelling to terms
  • …and more

Documentation and Support

Documentation is available on the SearchWP site, including many tutorials with screenshots on how to get started and configure your searches. There’s also help for developers looking to dive deeper into customizing their SearchWP installations, including many hooks and filters.

Getting support requires purchasing a license (more on that below).

Once you have your license key, navigate to Settings » SearchWP, and click on the Help tab at the top. Click the Activate License button at the top, and enter your key.

You can now open a support ticket right from your dashboard.

SearchWP Review - support

License Options

You can purchase a license at any time from the SearchWP site. All licenses include access to all extensions, and one year of support and updates. Licenses renew on a yearly basis.

There are three different options depending on the number of sites you want to use SearchWP on.

You can check out the pricing on the SearchWP site.

Our Verdict

If you’re frustrated by the poor search results on your site, and you’re losing visitors who can’t find what they’re looking for, you need a plugin to improve your WordPress search results.

We loved how easy SearchWP is to use, and how it has so many options to configure and customize your searches.

We give SearchWP 5 out of 5 stars. Here is the breakdown of our review scores:


Rating Star FullRating Star FullRating Star FullRating Star FullRating Star Full   5.0 / 5.0
Rating Star FullRating Star FullRating Star FullRating Star FullRating Star Full   5.0 / 5.0
Rating Star EmptyRating Star EmptyRating Star EmptyRating Star EmptyRating Star Empty   0.0 / 5.0
Rating Star FullRating Star FullRating Star FullRating Star FullRating Star Full   5.0 / 5.0
Ease of Use
Rating Star FullRating Star FullRating Star FullRating Star FullRating Star Full   5.0 / 5.0
Rating Star FullRating Star FullRating Star FullRating Star FullRating Star Empty   4.0 / 5.0
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