Search Meter: a WordPress plugin

Saturday, 27 August 2005

Latest version is 2.11, released on 17 September 2015.

Search Meter is a WordPress plugin that helps you keep your blog focused on what your visitors want to read. It does this by keeping track of what your visitors are searching for.

If you have a Search box on your blog, Search Meter automatically records what people are searching for — and whether they are finding what they are looking for. Search Meter’s admin interface shows you what people have been searching for in the last couple of days, and in the last week or month. It also shows you which searches have been unsuccessful. If people search your blog and get no results, they’ll probably go elsewhere. With Search Meter, you’ll be able to find out what people are searching for, and give them what they want by creating new posts on those topics.

Search Meter includes a Dashboard widget so you can see the last week of searches right on your WordPress Dashboard.

You can also show your readers what the most popular searches are. The Popular Searches widget displays a configurable list of recent popular successful search terms on your blog, with each term hyperlinked to the actual search results. There’s also a Recent Searches widget, which simply displays the most recent searches. If you are happy to edit your theme, both of these functions are also available as template tags.

Search Meter installs easily and requires no configuration. Just install it, activate it, and it starts tracking your visitors’ searches. Here’s a screenshot of the Search Meter dashboard, showing some of the reports you’ll get.

Search Meter dashboard


The latest version of Search Meter works with WordPress versions from 3.2 to 4.3, and should also work with newer versions as they are released.


Log in to your WordPress administration console. Under Plugins, select Add New. Type Search Meter in the box and the rest should be easy.

You can also download the Search Meter files from the WordPress Plugin Directory. You can download older version of the plugin, or check the development version for the latest unreleased goodies.

View Statistics

To see your search statistics, Log in to WordPress Admin, go to the Dashboard section and click Search Meter. You’ll see the most popular searches in the last day, week and month. Click “Last 100 Searches” or “Last 500 Searches” to see lists of all recent searches.

Manage Statistics

There are a couple of management option available if you go to the Settings section and click Search Meter. Use the Reset Statistics button to clear all past search statistics; Search Meter will immediately start gathering fresh statistics. If you’re technically-minded, you might want to check the “Keep detailed information” checkbox to make Search Meter save technical information about every search (the information is taken from the HTTP headers).

Popular and Recent Searches

The Popular Searches widget displays a list of the most popular successful search terms on your blog during the last 30 days. The Recent Searches widget displays a simple list of the most recent successful search terms. In both cases, the search terms in the lists are hyperlinked to the actual search results; readers can click the search term to show the results for that search. Also, you can configure the title and the maximum number of searches that each widget will display.

To add these widgets to your sidebar, log in to WordPress Admin, go to the Appearance section and click Widgets. You can drag the appropriate widget to the sidebar of your choice, and configure the title and the number of searches to display.

Widget support depends on the version of WordPress and the theme you’re using. In some cases you will not be able to use the widgets. In any case, you can always use the Search Meter template tags to display the same information. You’ll need to edit your theme to use them.

The sm_list_popular_searches() template tag displays a list of the 5 most popular successful search terms on your blog during the last 30 days. Each term is a hyperlink; readers can click the search term to show the results for that search. Here are some examples of using this template tag.

Show a simple list of the 5 most popular recent successful search terms, hyperlinked to the actual search results.

sm_list_popular_searches('<h2>Popular Searches</h2>')
Show the list as above, with the heading “Popular Searches”. If there have been no successful searches, then this tag displays no heading and no list.

sm_list_popular_searches('<li><h2>Popular Searches</h2>', '</li>')
Show the headed list as above; this form of the tag should be used in the default WordPress theme. Put it in the sidebar.php file.

sm_list_popular_searches('<li><h2>Popular Searches</h2>', '</li>', 10)
This is the same as the above, but it shows the 10 most popular searches.

Show a simple list of the 5 most recent successful search terms, hyperlinked to the actual search results. You can also use the same options as for the sm_list_popular_searches tag.

If you add these to your theme, wrap them in a function_exists call so your theme won’t break if you deactivate Search Meter. It should look something like this:

if (function_exists('sm_list_popular_searches')) {

Problems, questions or requests?

If you use the Recent Searches or Popular Searches widgets, you may be affected by a WordPress bug that stops multi-word search links from working.For more information and a way to fix the problem, see my Search Fixer plugin to ensure the search links always work.


The source code is maintained on the Search Meter github repository. You know the drill: fork, hack, send a pull request, and bask in the warm glow of satisfaction that is open source.

If you find any problems, please let me know by leaving a comment at the bottom of this page. You can also leave a comment if you have any questions about how it works, or if you would like to request a feature.

I write these WordPress plugins because I enjoy doing it, but it does take up a lot of my time. If you think this plugin is useful, please consider donating some appropriate amount.

Click here to donate using a credit card or PayPal.

Send Bitcoins to address

Full WordPress plugin list

  • Code Markup — Quickly paste code samples into your posts -- you can even include HTML markup in the code sample.
  • Evermore — Automatically display a short preview of your posts on the home page and other multiple-post pages, along with a link to the full post.
  • FixBack — Ensure trackbacks and pingbacks are sent with the correct link back to your blog.
  • Less — Less is no more. It has been renamed to Seemore and moved to its own Seemore plugin page.
  • Plaintext — Allow your readers to download source files (e.g. PHP, HTML, ASP) as plain text.
  • Safe Title — Use HTML in post titles in the default WordPress theme (or any other theme).
  • Search Meter — Find out what people are searching for on your blog, so you can write what your visitors want to read.
  • Seemore — Change the (more...) link so it jumps to the full post, not just the part after the link.
  • Top Cat — Specify a main category for your posts, and use template tags to display posts differently according to their main category.
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  1. I still can’t manage to make this plugins works. First problem is the plugin can’t create the tables needed, might be this related with my acc priv. Then, I tried to copy the tables from my other acc (which is successfully work) to current acc. And this is the error “Can’t find file: ‘./mydbasename/wp_searchmeter.frm’ (errno: 13)”

    Can you help solve this problem, or can you give me previous version of this plugin?

    Thank you

  2. Great plugin, I use it on my blog and have linked to it from my “Use Blog Search Function To Learn More About Your Visitors” post at

  3. Heyas, yes it’s indeed a very useful plugin. Unfortunately I cant use it with the Google Custom Search I switched to on my website.

    Is there a way to use it even there?

  4. יאיר

    its very good plugin
    i have a problem to show search statistic at hebrew typing searchin
    i gess there is a problem with other lang’
    in english its ok

    what can i do to fix it?


  5. thanks for the plugin!

  6. Jamie, it sounds as if the database table copy didn’t work. You’ll need to check with your ISP or DBA to sort this out.

    If you would like a previous version of Search Meter then you can look in the repository.

  7. יאיר, thank you very much for pointing this out. It looks as if Search Meter has a problem with some languages! (As you can see, my theme also doesn’t handle right-to-left scripts very well…)

    I will fix Search Meter so it correctly handles right-to-left and multibyte scripts. My usual disclaimer applies: I don’t have much spare time to do this, so please don’t hold your breath.

  8. This plugin helped me a lot on my blogs.


  9. Google compalains about pages with the same title name. All my recent searches display the same title ( my website name only). It would be great if you could change this to where the title would include the search terms as he tile:


    Change from: “Chuck Littau Piano Services”

    to: “[Search Terms] – Chuck Littau Piano Services”

  10. Thank you Thank you What are your blog visitors searching for ? April 24th, 2007 – Filed under Internet Marketing & SEO, Personal, SEO Experiments by Cristian Mezei (No Ratings Yet) Loading

  11. I have been looking for a plugin like this for a long time! Thank you for posting!

  12. nice addition to my stats arsenal… Thanks!!

  13. There’s a minor internal bug, some of the links link to index.php?page=search-meter.php and options-general.php?page=search-meter.php when they should actually link to index.php?page=search-meter/search-meter.php and options-general.php?page=search-meter/search-meter.php

    It doesn’t break the plugin, it just means a couple admin-side links don’t work, and all it took to fix was doing a find/replace on the plugin file for those two URL segments.

  14. @Chuck, it sounds as if you need to update the search results template page in your theme.

    @Chris, thanks for pointing that out. I actually just noticed this two days ago. It happens because WordPress’s auto-update feature puts plugin files in their own subdirectory, which is a change from the original structure.

    I will fix this in the next version of Search Meter. There are one or two cosmetic problems in WP2.7 that I will fix too.

  15. Obrigado pela dicas.


  16. search meter is just awesome worked for me.

  17. cool site cool plugin

  18. Cool plugin well done.

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