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Making WordPress Search a Party


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Being able to easily find what they’re looking for on your website can make or break your visitors’ experience. Unfortunately, WordPress’ default search functionality is limited and unreliable, leading many to depend on plugins and other technologies for search. Learn about the different options available and how to choose a search technology for your site.

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Making WordPress Search a Party

  1. 1. PANTHEON.IO Making WordPress Search a Party
  2. 2. PANTHEON.IO Speakers Josh Koenig Co-Founder & Head of Developer Experience, Pantheon Joe Dooley Lead Developer, The CRUSH Agency
  3. 3. PANTHEON.IO Why is Search Important? ● Average conversion went from 1.7% to 2.4% with on-site search.1 ● Only 37% of users who search find what they are looking for.2 ● 75% of users don’t go past page one of search results.1 1, 2.
  4. 4. PANTHEON.IO Why is Search Important? ● Huge opportunity for engagement / conversion. ● Status quo is not great: easy to beat expectations. ● Site search can provide valuable analytics insights. ● Surface usability issues.
  5. 5. PANTHEON.IO WordPress Default Search If you’re using WP as a content-management system instead of just running a small blog, the basic search will leave you in trouble. The default WordPress search leaves you without your best search results first. Default WP Search can be summed up as - Find any post that mentions these keywords in the post title or content and return them ordered by date descending. - The search lists the results in date order, latest first. This is rarely useful. - Searches for the exact query, nothing less and nothing more. - No Site Network search capabilities
  6. 6. PANTHEON.IO Existing Search Platforms - Pros and Cons Relevanssi - replaces the default search with a partial-match search that sorts results by relevance. Indexes comments and shortcode content. Search & Filter Pro - Search by custom fields, post meta, taxonomies, tags, categories, authors, post types, post dates. FacetWP - Amazon-like filtering to any WordPress content listing. It allows users to quickly browse and drill-down through your site's content to find exactly what they're looking for. Google Custom Search - Effective, but has a number of drawbacks that force concessions when it comes to design. There’s a branded search field, search results have ads (unless you pay to get them off), and it’s sometimes really difficult to give search the attention you’ve afforded everywhere else.
  7. 7. PANTHEON.IO Some Examples Avedro - The World Leader in Corneal Cross-Linking Science Problem: We needed a premium WordPress search solution that allowed us to search and filter by custom post type. Solution: The only solution was a premium plugin, Search and Filter Pro. This was time consuming because we had to evaluate the pros and cons of each plugin and figure out how to use each plugin.
  8. 8. PANTHEON.IO MySQL is not a Search Engine ● It’s not WordPress’s fault. ● Relational databases are designed for transactions, and to index / join on keys. ● Full-text indexing exists, but performs horribly. ● Matching doesn’t mean relevant.
  9. 9. PANTHEON.IO All About Solr ● Solr is an open source enterprise search engine ● Built on Apache Lucene ● Talks to websites over HTTP API
  10. 10. PANTHEON.IO All About Solr ● Used by some of the most heavily trafficked sites on the internet ● Advanced capabilities like full-text search, faceted search, geo-spatial search
  11. 11. PANTHEON.IO All About Solr Faster than WordPress default search More accurate matching Scales to billions of documents Features like spell check, highlighting, faceting, built in
  12. 12. PANTHEON.IO Things You Can Do With Solr Have an awesome search experience
  13. 13. PANTHEON.IO Things You Can Do With Solr Related content widgets
  14. 14. PANTHEON.IO Things You Can Do With Solr Turbocharge WP_Query performance Default Search
  15. 15. PANTHEON.IO Things You Can Do With Solr Autocompletes and other UI improvements
  16. 16. PANTHEON.IO Solr Challenges ● Java infrastructure ● Complex XML configuration ● No security or authentication
  17. 17. PANTHEON.IO Pantheon’s Solr Backend Service ● We provide a separate index for every environment ● Authentication and encryption is automatic ● Zero configuration: the search service “just works” ● Used by 1000s of Drupal sites (and a few WP sites) already
  18. 18. PANTHEON.IO Pantheon’s New Solr Plugin for WordPress ● Beta version coming to plugin directory soon. ● The alpha developer version is available now on GitHub. ● Anyone can use the plugin as long as you provide a backend to run it on.
  19. 19. PANTHEON.IO ● Your visitors deserve a killer search experience. ● WordPress’ default search can only go so far — it lacks in relevance, scalability, and speed. ● There are many options for search plugins and services. ● Pantheon is releasing an open source Solr plugin - use it with your own backend or run it on Pantheon. Summary - Search Matters
  20. 20. PANTHEON.IO Summary - For Agencies Consistency - developers will know how to use Solr on each and every site. Clients - We’re able to provide our clients with a turnkey solution for a first-class search experience.
  21. 21. PANTHEON.IO Try It Now
  22. 22. PANTHEON.IO Questions?