A few months ago I listened to a podcast by Pat Flynn from Smart Passive Income. He talked with Dan Norris of WPCurve about the common mistakes people make using WordPress and how to avoid them. I highly recommend listening to it. The interview runs about an hour, but it is time well spent. I think Pat was a little under the weather during the interview, so Dan picked up the baton and took off. The result — an episode absolutely packed with a lot of great advice, resources and useful tools.
During the interview he talked about WordPress site search.Now, if you’re like me, you’ll read an interesting article or listen to a great podcast that uncovers the perfect golden nugget that you want to go back to and find again. The problem, you didn’t act on it right away. Maybe you remember the website and the topic, but just can’t remember how to get to it. Your only alternative is to do a website search. Yes, you can do a search using Google (i.e, “search bar” site:www.example.com). If Google fails you, going directly to the website and using the native WordPress search bar is your only option. Unfortunately, the WordPress search widget is mediocre at best. It’s frustrating and the results are hit and miss. You think there has got to be a better way.
To keep your fans from having the same experience on your site, Dan recommend an app called Swiftype Search. It comes as a WordPress plugin and indexes your site on Swiftype’s servers. Its best feature is that it has instant predictive search. As a query is typed in a drop-down of potential results is displayed and you can immediately click on the article you want without going to the ugly search results typically associated with a WordPress search.
Another huge benefit with the app — you can customize search results shown based on the most common keywords on your site which might be used in a search. The results are accurate and eliminates the frustration of website search. Because you can customize the search results the user will see you have the opportunity to display some of your older, related content as well. It's an opportunity to increase reader engagement with your content.
Swiftype Search has a free plan available suitable for smaller sites. It indexes 500 documents and provides for 1,000 queries per month. As your site grows you can upgrade to their Pro plan which indexes 5,000 documents and provides 10,000 queries per month. The Pro plan is $19/month.
If your want to help your audience discover your best evergreen content, Swiftype Search is definitely worth a look.