Making Search Results More Efficient for Your Readers
When someone is searching for something on your site, you want them to find it easily and efficiently. The default of many WordPress themes is to display only the first 10 items they find, and to display posts in their sometimes lengthy entirety. This default action may not provide either ease or efficiency.
BUT - there are three very easy things you can do to improve your readers’ satisfaction:
First: Use the More Tag
The more icon (circled above in red) allows you to determine a point in your post to “stop” displaying content and inserting a link to “more” – or the rest of your post.
To insert a “More” tag:
- Position the cursor where you want the break to be
- Click on the More icon
- You will see the more line inserted in your post:
- You can delete the tag by selecting it and clicking on “Delete”
If you have a separate Post Page, the more tag may also shorten what gets displayed on that page. This allows readers to browse quickly through your recent posts and click “More” to continue reading any that interest them.
Second: Use the Excerpt Capability
Sometimes the very beginning of your post is not the most exciting – or important – digest of what you are writing about. There may a “tag line” or other overview text that would be more interesting to your readers (and to search engines).
The place to put this lead-in, is in the “Excerpt” text box which you will find immediately following the main editing box.
Using “More” and “Excerpt” Together
To get the best result, you should use More and Excerpt together.
You could, for example, insert a More Tag on the line immediately following your page head tag (On this page: “Optimizing Search Results in WordPress”) and enter a more news-worthy lead-in in the Excerpt text box (On this page: “Using the more icon, the excerpt field, and post display limits to optimize searching in WordPress”).
A search on “more icon” would then display a shorter and more interesting result:
rather than a lengthy display of the entire post page.
Some themes will also display a “Read More” link on the search results.
Note: Individual themes may vary as to how they display the more tag – and how they display search results in general. See what your chosen theme is doing – then make adjustments using More and Excerpt to get the results you want.
Third: Customize The Display Limit
You can also increase the number of results that a search will display. Ten – which is the default – is a good result if you do not have a large number of posts. But often there are many more than 10 results that relate directly to the search word or category.
To ensure that readers see a larger selection of posts and pages that relate to their search:
- Click on the “Settings” tab on your dashboard
- Click on “Reading“
- Replace “10” with another number, such as 25
- Click “Save Changes“
- Now when someone searches this site, they will see a maximum of 25posts and posts – not just 10