WordPress Feature Request: Improved WordPress Search

Disclaimer: This post was written to generate some discussion about this topic.  If you have an idea for something you’d like to see added or integrated into WordPress, you can always contribute ideas and vote on other ideas over at WordPress Ideas.    If you look through the most popular ideas (historically), you’ll see that many are eventually integrated into the core WordPress software.  Some past examples are the current tagging system, automatic plugin updates, etc.    In other words, WordPress users often dictate which features are integrated into WordPress!

Over the next couple weeks, I plan on writing a few posts and get a couple discussions going about potential features I’d like to see built into the core WordPress installation.   We’ve talked about this in general a little bit before and many of these features are already available as WordPress plugins, but I feel they are important enough to bloggers that they should be built directly into WordPress.    Doing this also helps minimize the number of plugins used by WordPress.org bloggers, which can in turn minimize security risks or huge drains on system resources which can come from plugins.

This week I’ve decided to talk about the current WordPress search feature.  In its current state, the WordPress search feature is very basic.   You type in your keyword(s) and it will display all posts which contain that keyword in the reverse order of how they were posted (newest posts first).   This obviously does not make it easy for a reader of your blog to find the more relevant posts without a little luck.  The post they are looking for might be 3 pages deep!

As a result, many WordPress users have turned to building a Google Custom Search Engine (GCSE) into their WordPress blog.   This allows Google AdSense ads (it is optional), but much more importantly, it uses Google’s algorithm to display the most relevant posts first, allowing readers to find what they are looking for!

In a future version of WordPress, I’d like to see some attention put into building an improved search feature within WordPress.   Having an improved search algorithm would also be beneficial when searching within the WordPress dashboard as that search works the same way.  When trying to find a post to edit, I sometimes have to flip through several pages looking for it (if it is an older post).

What do you think?  Would you like to see improved search within WordPress?   How high of a priority is it to you?

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