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how to customize your WordPress search results page

Would you like to know how to customize your WordPress search results page?

By default, WordPress doesn’t allow you to do so. But there is a way to gain complete control over your search results page without writing a single line of code.

In this article, we’ll show you how to easily customize your WordPress search results page in just a few clicks.

Here is the table of contents to help you navigate through the article:

Why Customize Your WordPress Search Results Page

Customizing your site’s search results page allows you to improve the user experience of your visitors and show them more relevant search results.

It’s crucial if you want to drive traffic from search engines and ensure the success of your site in the long run.

There are a few ways how you can customize your WordPress search results page:

  • Show search results in live mode. WordPress shows search results on a new separate page, which isn’t convenient and frustrating for visitors. You can make them display in live mode so that your visitors can instantly find what they’re looking for.
  • Exclude pages from search results. Are there some pages you don’t want to appear in search results? You can exclude them to avoid cluttering search results and make it easier to find the right matches.
  • Prioritize pages in search results. Do you want to promote specific pages in search results? You can give them a higher priority to make finding them easier for your audience.
  • Include shortcode results in WordPress search. WordPress search ignores shortcodes, making it impossible to find the content they display. You can make shortcodes searchable to solve this issue and enrich your search results.
  • Enable fuzzy search feature. Would you like to help your visitors find the results they want, even if they make a typo? Enable fuzzy search to make WordPress find partial matches.

Now, let’s take a look at how you can do all of the above even without being an experienced WordPress user.

How to Customize Your WordPress Search Results Page

The easiest way to customize your WordPress search results page is to use a plugin like SearchWP.

SearchWP logo

This is a flexible and easy-to-use plugin designed to improve WordPress search on your website.

After the installation, you’ll get full control over how search works on your site and can easily customize it.

Specifically, you can exclude and prioritize pages from search results, display matches in live mode, and many more.

Over 30,000 WordPress site owners worldwide already use SearchWP to provide better relevant search results to their audience.

Here are other things you can do with SearchWP:

  • Make custom data types searchable. The native WordPress search indexes only the title and content of posts and pages. With SearchWP, you can make searchable custom fields, taxonomies, database tables, and many more.
  • Track searches. SearchWP automatically gathers all data about your site visitors’ search activity. You can use this information to better understand the needs of your audience and cover them.
  • Use multiple search engines. With SearchWP, you can simultaneously use a few search engines with different settings. It allows you to create search forms limited to specific categories, showing your visitors more relevant results.
  • Add search by PDFs and documents. Using SearchWP, you can make WordPress search by the content within PDF files and office documents.

Now, let’s take a look at how to install SearchWP and use it to customize your search results page.

The first step is to grab your copy of the SearchWP plugin here.

Once done, go to your SearchWP account and navigate to the Downloads tab.

go to the Downloads tab

Then, press the Download SearchWP button and save the plugin’s ZIP file to your computer.

press the Download SearchWP button

Copy the license key at the same tab as you’ll need it soon to activate your copy of the plugin.

copy your plugin's license key

When the download is finished, the next step is to upload the SearchWP ZIP file to your WordPress site.

Need a refresher on how to do that? Kindly follow the instructions described in how to install a WordPress plugin step-by-step tutorial.

Once you install and activate SearchWP, click the SearchWP button at the top panel of your WordPress dashboard.

click SearchWP at the top bar

Then, navigate to the License tab.

go over to the License tab

Paste your SearchWP license key into the License field and click Activate.

press Activate

That’s it. You activated the plugin and are now ready to start customizing your search results page.

How to Show Search Results in Live Mode

If you want to make your WordPress site show search results in live mode, the first step is to install the SearchWP Live Ajax Search plugin add-on.

After installing this plugin, all the existing search forms on your site will automatically start displaying search results in live mode.

You can grab it at the SearchWP Live Ajax Search download page.

After you’ve navigated to the page, press the Download button and save the plugin to your computer.

download the SearchWP Live Ajax Search plugin

When the download is complete, simply install the plugin the same way you installed SearchWP.

That’s it. You don’t need to take any extra steps. Every search box on your site now shows live search results.

Here is how it looks on our test WordPress site:

category choose search field

Now, let’s see how else you can customize your search results page.

How to Exclude Specific Pages from Search Results

If you want to exclude specific pages from your site search results, the first step is to install the Exclude UI extension.

This extension adds the Exclude checkbox to the post and page editor, allowing you to hide them from search results with a single click.

tick the Exclude checkbox

You can grab it at the Exclude UI extension download page.

Once there, press the Download Extension button and save the extension’s ZIP file to your computer.

download the Exclude UI extension

After you finish downloading, install and activate the extension the same way as SearchWP.

The next step is to go to your WordPress dashboard and navigate to the Posts or Pages tab. It depends on what type of content you’d like to exclude from search results.

choose posts or pages

Then click on the specific post or page you want to exclude from search results on your site.

select a post

After that, check the Exclude box in the right panel to hide this post from the search results.

check the exclude from search checkbox

Don’t forget to save the changes once you’re done. To do so, click the Update, Publish or Save button at the top right corner.

press Update

That’s it. You’ve successfully excluded a post from your WordPress site search results.

For more details, see our step-by-step guide on how to exclude pages from site search results in WordPress.

How to Prioritize Specific Pages in Search Results

You might also want to prioritize specific search results. To do so, you’ll need to download the Custom Results Order extension.

This extension allows you to choose which posts or pages you want to show at the top of search results for a specific search term.

promote a specific page to the top

You can grab it at the Custom Results Order extension download page.

Once you get to the page, click the Download Extension button and save the extension ZIP archive to your computer.

download the Custom Results Order extension

For more details, see our guide on how to prioritize specific search results in WordPress.

How to Include Shortcode Results in WordPress Search

Would you like to enrich search results with shortcodes’ content? It’ll let your visitors search for galleries, tables, and anything else displayed by shortcodes.

Here is an example of a gallery that you can make searchable:

search by galleries

With SearchWP, you can make WordPress index shortcodes with just a few clicks.

enable parsing shortcodes

For more details, see our guide on how to include shortcode results in WordPress search.

How to Enable Fuzzy Search Feature

Would you like to add a fuzzy search feature to your site? When enabled, it makes WordPress find partial matches when search terms yield no results.

This feature is super helpful and allows your visitors to find what they’re looking for, even if they’ve made a typo.

For example, if they misspell WordPress as “WordtPress,” they’ll still find posts on the right topic.

find the right results even if you make a typo

Using SearchWP, you can enable fuzzy search just by ticking a checkbox, no coding needed.

enable partial matches

For more details, follow the how to add fuzzy search to your WordPress site tutorial.

In this article, you learned how to customize your WordPress search results page.

By customizing your search results page, you can ensure a better user experience, improving your site’s ranking in search engines.

If you’re ready to gain full control over how search works on your WordPress site, you can grab your copy of SearchWP here.

Would you like to add a search bar to your site? Check out this how to add a search bar in WordPress with 4 different ways tutorial.

Faced any problems with search on your site? Follow the how to fix WordPress search not working guide.

Want to make your search awesome right now?

More than 30,000 sites have chosen SearchWP!

You can utilize all of the content that’s gone unrecognized by native WordPress keyword search instantly with SearchWP.

Get SearchWP for just $99

  • Committed Support
    If you need help, support is fast, friendly, and here for you
  • Streamlined Setup
    Installation and setup that’s optimized for speed
  • Great Documentation
    Helpful, clear, and usable documentation is a priority

See what SearchWP customers have to say

  • “SearchWP lets you easily configure a custom search engine placing more or less emphasis on whatever fields and post types that you want. Very clean interface. Super helpful plugin. Thanks!”

  • “Faster and more easily extensible than other solutions, and much simpler and cheaper than offsite search services (Swifttype, Algolia, custom Elasticsearch engine, etc.). Phenomenal support too! Our client was very happy with the end product.”

  • “What I like is that SearchWP has an easy setup and offers immediate improvement. I also like that Jonathan is honest about the limitations of the product. Over 20K posts/pages and he recommends you look elsewhere for reasonable performance.”

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