I’d like to share my fix for the poor search results in Magento. The search engine is actually very good, you just have to customize your Magento attributes so that the search will work any way you want.
Basically, Magento comes with some unnecessary attributes set to be “searchable” in the store. Some of these are the short description, description and so on.
All you have to do to improve search results is go to: CATALOG - ATTRIBUTES - MANAGE ATTRIBUTES
Filter results to show only “searchable: YES” attributes and you will discover which attributes are searchable in quick or advanced search. You can then edit attributes so they will not be searchable.
What I did to make my searches great (quick search especially) was to leave only MANUFACTURER, NAME and SKU as searchable, and added META KEYWORDS to that as well.
With this rule setup, I can add the special - or different - keywords you need for each product in their META KEYWORD field.
For example, if someone searches for “iPhone” they will only find iPhones and related products which have this string in the name. If they search for Apple, they will find all apple manufactured products and if they search for “Smartphone” they will find all smartphones because all smartphones in the store have this string in their META KEYWORD fields.
You might think this will affect SEO, but it doesn’t. Google (the most important search engine) does not consider this meta tag relevant for ranking. Actually, they ignore the META KEYWORDS tag so this will basically be useful in your own website or some funky old search engines out there.
With this technique, you can customize search results to work the way you need.
Another idea would be to include the “URL KEY” as a searchable attribute, since you usually put important and exclusive keywords there for each product.
It worked like a charm for me!!
Best of luck! Eduardo