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The blog search is returning results that not related to the search query. For example, when I submit “Costa Rica” as the search, the top two results are for Language Homestay – Italy and Teach Abroad Thailand, although the additional results are related to Costa Rica.

Bboth of of the top 2 results are from the autoblog, and I did find that the blog related to Teach Abroad Thailand does contain the words “costa rica”, but I couldn’t locate “Costa Rica” in the Language Homestay-Italy blog so am not sure why it is turning up as the top results for the search query “costa rica.”

  • Ray
    Thanks Nelly - I'm looking into this now :)
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Hi Nelly – I have fine-tuned the search to be a bit more intelligent – but a fully fledged solution would mean that we either need to re-write the WP search engine ( ! ) or install a plugin that would do some of this work for us – which is an option, but I’m not sure it’s required.

In order to keep the search engine as fast as possible, we can’t expect it to check against an entire Dictionary ( or several ) to check if the word being searched for is in fact a whole word, or just part of a word.

A search for “Costa Rica” does return relevant results, where as a search for “Rica” returns a wider set of results.

Let’s take a different example:

Search for “Exploring Wat Pho”:

This returns one single result – which matches the exact post title – an exact search returning a single result seems correct.

Search for “Wat Pho”:

Returns a number of results, all from Thailand – again, this seems correct.

Search for “Wat”:

A mixed bag – but, the search term is both vague and not even a known English word – the first result has matched the words “watching” and “watched” and so on.. but, I think this is the correct behaviour.

What do you think?

  • Nelly
    I agree. I think most users won't enter a fragment for a search query, but as long as the search has been updated to return more relevant results I think we're good. And I definitely don't want to slow down our website just to make the search more exact. I think most users will use the search to find information about a specific country, so will be submitting the full name of the country, and not just a fragment of it (hopefully!).
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I think the answer is that the first post contains this text:

“Oh, I didn’t know, sorry, I’m American…”

Looks closer and you’ll see:

“Oh, I didn’t know, sorry, I’m Ame”rica”n…”

As in “Costa Rica” – the search does a partial search for fragments of words – which is kind of cool, in case people search for something more obscure..

  • Nelly
    So the search is relating the "rica" in American to Costa Rica? I think it's good to have a partial search for fragments, but the word "American" isn't really a fragment. It just contains a few similar letters in the same order as Costa Rica. Is there a way to fine tune the partial search?
  • Ray
    I'm certain that we could fine-tune the search to only include "whole" terms and not partials - would you like me to look into doing that? - also, sorry my answer was not clear, as the word "rica" was not highlighted correctly.. kind of repeated myself for nothing!
  • Nelly
    No problem! I put on my monocle and was able to figure it out. I agree about updating the search to include whole terms instead of partials is the way to go.
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