Better WordPress Search Needed

For a current client we are trying to improve the reliability of WordPress’ search engine. By default, WP sorts results by date. You could argue that this makes sense for a blog because the most relevant results may be the most recent, and WP obviously made that argument. Realistically, people want relevant results, no matter the date (most of the time).

Plugins to Improve Search?

I set out to see how we could bring WordPress up to par with most search engines – a vain attempt at competing with Google search. The first and most popular solution for “fixing” WordPress search I came upon was Search Reloaded by Semiologic. Certainly Search Reloaded improves the accuracy of the search which is a step in the right direction. But even Semiologic admits it’s not perfect. When using Search Reloaded the results were thinner and more accurate, but sometimes you want more comprehensive and have them sorted accordingly.

Example: Searching for “arthritis” without Search Reloaded returns lots of results, including an article on Osteoarthritis. The same search with Search Reloaded returns only one article title Arthritis.

Ideally, both the Arthritis article AND the Osteoarthritis articles would be returned and sorted accordingly.

Sprucing Up the Search Page

After realizing that I may not be able to do much with the behind the scenes searching I tried tweaking the search page itself to at least give the appearance of a smater search engine. I started with Yoast’s WordPress search tips. Per Joost’s advice I added the Search Excerpt plugin to extract the snippet of text around keywords and bold the keywords in the snippet. I also added his Search Suggest plugin that catches possible typos and suggests the correct spelling (just like Google), and in adition it displays a list of keywords related to the search keyword as suggestions for related searches.

Still Lacking

Despite all of the changes, the search results still lack exactly what we need to achieve: comprehensive, yet accurate results.
Any suggestions for improving WordPress results or are you willing to write a plugin to do so?

SEO & WordPress Tips – 3

Google’s SEO Starter Guide – Just released; a good read for all beginners

Advanced WordPress Optimization – Ten PHP and MySQL changes to speed up & secure your site

WordPress 2.7 “Trailer” – Short video about the new 2.7 interface

Writing Good Content – Guide to creating well written content

Best WordPress Plugins – Several post related plugins that are incredibly flexible

My Favorite Websites

Nearly everyday (or at least multiple times a week) I visit this list of websites. The list is tailored to web design, SEO, & WordPress related sites.

I’ve gained much knowledge from the authors and contributors of these sites and I owe much debt. If you’re interested in any of the things I do for a living, then this list is MUST read.

In alphabetical order…

I’m a Freelancer, Open for Business

Today is my first day as a full-time freelancer. Woohoo! Along with this next step in my life I’ve completely redesigned the website. It’s not done yet, but I couldn’t wait! I wanted to focus on clear navigation, giving the blog much more attention (design & and amount/frequency of writing), and simplify everything. I hope you like it!

Now onto the news…

Why Freelancing?

I’ve always been intrigued by the idea of owning my own business. In it I see opportunity to do things the way I think they should be done, I have much more freedom than I would have anywhere else, and I can hone in on exactly what it is I do best and utilize those talents to their fullest.

There’s been much speculation on the changes younger generations bring to the workplace. Those changes come from ideologies that younger people hold to tightly. A few of those, I think, are quality time with family & friends, transparency, and quality work.

I want all of those things. I want the freedom to have the time to deepen relationships with the people that mean the most to me and I’ll have more time to do that now. I want to be transparent about who I am and who my company is. I’d rather be completely open and honest and lose some potential customers than paint a picture of perfection and pretend that my company is all things to all people. It’s appalling to me to watch the number of companies I’ve seen sell their services for an arm & a leg and produce crappy work. It almost seems as if it’s the standard to produce crappy work and every once in a while come across something good. I guess this is the product of the American dream — everyone thinking that they need to take their shot, even if they aren’t qualified. Boy, that statement could really come back to bite to me!

What I love about working with other people is finding strengths in others. It was really neat to see how a handful of people made up the company at Lead Maverick and each excelled at what they did. Knowing this, I also know that I’m not a jack of all trades. I’m good at a few things and it’s those things I want to focus on and make even better. My job now is to take what I know, apply it, and get better at it all the time so that I can assure clients (and myself!) that I really can produce something really great.

Leaving Lead Maverick

I left Lead Maverick last week and it was harder to do than I thought I would it be. I made great relationships there and exciting things are happening for them. For those of you not in the loop yet, Lead Maverick is a search engine marketing company in Dallas, TX. I was the web designer among other things.

I left an environment of security. Having a consistent paycheck sure is nice, and what’s even greater is that someone had to be trusting enough to offer me a salary. In one hand I was comforted by the fact that someone was giving me money to survive on, and on the other hand I was comforted by the idea that I was trusted enough to be privileged with that money. It really is a neat thing to think about.

Friendship is much more easily grown in close proximity, something I’ll miss now that I’ll be working alone all day. Sure I’ll have the phone, meetings, and now I can work from a coffee shop if I want to. It’s quite different to work alongside your friends though. I’ll miss that part.

Where to Begin?

Well, I’m open for business. I’m praying for guidance throughout this process. I’m only a man and I can fall easily. All the support you can give is grealy appreciated. That’s where I’ll begin.

Welcome to Develop Daly.

SEO & WordPress Tips – 2

SEO Credibility – Good read on so called “SEO experts”

Reputation Management via Twitter – Awesome customer service all because of Twitter

“Send This to Twitter” – WordPress snippet to add the link to your posts

High Quality WordPress Theme – Easily customizable, awesome SEO, and support

Find Spam You’re Linking To – Search operators to find spam links on your site

SEO & WordPress Tips – 1

Social Media Release Builder – Easy SMR creation and hosting

Reputation Management Theory – My YOUmoz post discussing singular vs. pluralistic link networks

How to Use Google Analytics Segementation – Easy startup guide to using Analytics’ New Features

Unpersonalize Your Google Search – Google removed the option for you to do it yourself, but this still works

ww and wwww Subdomains – Redirect to capture all link juice from link typos