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The default WordPress search setup isn't really working for my website's setup.

I have two custom post types (species, glossary) which I'd like to search for, as well as the standard post type.

The species post type (which I'll refer to herein as species profiles) is made up of a number of meta fields, including genus and species (two taxonomic ranks which are used to commonly identify species of fish). The title of a species profile is its scientific name (Genus species) and any non-scientific common names it may have.

A typical species post (AKA profile) will look like this:


INSERT INTO `wp_postmeta` (`meta_id`, `post_id`, `meta_key`, `meta_value`) VALUES
(104395, 2288, 'genus', '<em>Puntius</em>'),
(104396, 2288, 'species', '<em>sahyadriensis</em>'),
(104397, 2288, 'family', 'Cyprinidae'),
(104398, 2288, 'common_names', ''),
(104399, 2288, 'distribution', '<a class="link_glossary" href="/glossary/e/endemic" rel="/glossary/e/endemic?hover=true">Endemic</a> to streams of the Yenna <a class="link_glossary" href="/glossary/r/river%20basin" rel="/glossary/r/river%20basin?hover=true">river basin</a> close to the city of Mahabaleshwar in the Western Ghats mountain range, Satara district, Maharashtra state, India.'),
(104400, 2288, 'habitat', 'The <a class="link_glossary" href="/glossary/r/river" rel="/glossary/r/river?hover=true">river</a> Yenna flows through lush evergreen forest meaning the hill streams in which the fish can be found are likely to be shaded by the forest canopy and dense <a class="link_glossary" href="/glossary/m/marginal" rel="/glossary/m/marginal?hover=true">marginal</a> vegetation. Substrates should be composed of boulders, smaller stones, <a class="link_glossary" href="/glossary/s/sand" rel="/glossary/s/sand?hover=true">sand</a> or <a class="link_glossary" href="/glossary/g/gravel" rel="/glossary/g/gravel?hover=true">gravel</a> with submerged tree roots around the margins and quieter areas in which fallen branches and leaf litter collect. As with similar members of the <a class="link_glossary" href="/glossary/g/genus" rel="/glossary/g/genus?hover=true">genus</a> it is likely to congregate in <a class="link_glossary" href="/glossary/b/backwater" rel="/glossary/b/backwater?hover=true">backwater</a> pools or deeper areas with lower flow.'),
(104402, 2288, 'max_size', 'Around 2.75"/7cm.'),
(104403, 2288, 'aquarium_size', 'It is an active <a class="link_glossary" href="/glossary/s/species" rel="/glossary/s/species?hover=true">species</a> and a <a class="link_glossary" href="/glossary/t/tank" rel="/glossary/t/tank?hover=true">tank</a> measuring at least 36" x 12" x 12"/90cm x 30cm x 30cm/85 litres is needed to house a group.'),
(104404, 2288, 'maintenance', 'Choice of decor is not as critical as water quality and the amount of swimming-space provided. We suggest keeping it in a roomy, well-planted <a class="link_glossary" href="/glossary/a/aquarium" rel="/glossary/a/aquarium?hover=true">aquarium</a> or alternatively it would look superb in a set-up designed to resemble a flowing <a class="link_glossary" href="/glossary/r/river" rel="/glossary/r/river?hover=true">river</a> with a <a class="link_glossary" href="/glossary/s/substrate" rel="/glossary/s/substrate?hover=true">substrate</a> of variably-sized rocks and <a class="link_glossary" href="/glossary/g/gravel" rel="/glossary/g/gravel?hover=true">gravel</a> and some large water-worn boulders. A rivertank manifold could also be constructed to provide naturalistic unidirectional flow. The <a class="link_glossary" href="/glossary/t/tank" rel="/glossary/t/tank?hover=true">tank</a> can be further furnished with driftwood branches and <a class="link_glossary" href="/glossary/a/aquatic" rel="/glossary/a/aquatic?hover=true">aquatic</a> plants for aesthetic value. While the vast majority of plant <a class="link_glossary" href="/glossary/s/species" rel="/glossary/s/species?hover=true">species</a> will fail to thrive in such conditions possibilities include hardy <a class="link_glossary" href="/glossary/s/species" rel="/glossary/s/species?hover=true">species</a> such as Java fern, <em>Bolbitis</em> or <em>Anubias</em> <a class="link_glossary" href="/glossary/s/species" rel="/glossary/s/species?hover=true">species</a> which can be grown attached to the decor. Like many other <a class="link_glossary" href="/glossary/s/species" rel="/glossary/s/species?hover=true">species</a> that hail from pristine natural environments it is intolerant to the accumulation of <a class="link_glossary" href="/glossary/o/organic" rel="/glossary/o/organic?hover=true">organic</a> wastes and requires spotless water at all times in order to thrive.'),
(104405, 2288, 'water_chemistry', '<strong>Temperature</strong>: Prefers slightly cool conditions within the range 20 - 24°C/68 - 75°C. Higher temperatures are known to stimulate spawning with an associated increase of aggression in males.\r\n\r\n<strong>pH</strong>: 6.8 - 7.8\r\n\r\n<strong>Hardness</strong>: 5 - 15°H'),
(104406, 2288, 'diet', 'Likely to feed on small invertebrates, <a class="link_glossary" href="/glossary/a/algae" rel="/glossary/a/algae?hover=true">algae</a> and other <a class="link_glossary" href="/glossary/z/zooplankton" rel="/glossary/z/zooplankton?hover=true">zooplankton</a> in nature. In the <a class="link_glossary" href="/glossary/a/aquarium" rel="/glossary/a/aquarium?hover=true">aquarium</a> it will accept dried foods of a suitable size but should not be fed these exclusively. Daily meals of small live and frozen fare such as <em><a class="link_glossary" href="/glossary/D/Daphnia" rel="/glossary/D/Daphnia?hover=true">Daphnia</a></em>, <em><a class="link_glossary" href="/glossary/A/Artemia" rel="/glossary/A/Artemia?hover=true">Artemia</a></em> and suchlike will result in the best colouration and encourage the fish to come into breeding condition.'),
(104407, 2288, 'behaviour', 'Not an aggressive fish but best kept with other hillstream-dwelling <a class="link_glossary" href="/glossary/s/species" rel="/glossary/s/species?hover=true">species</a> such as <em>Danio</em>, <em>Devario</em>, other small <em>Puntius</em>, <em>Garra</em> and balitorid loaches. That said provided its oxygen and temperature requirements can be met it can be mixed with most peaceful fish too large to be considered food. A <a class="link_glossary" href="/glossary/b/biotope" rel="/glossary/b/biotope?hover=true">biotope</a>-style <a class="link_glossary" href="/glossary/c/community" rel="/glossary/c/community?hover=true">community</a> based around <a class="link_glossary" href="/glossary/s/species" rel="/glossary/s/species?hover=true">species</a> from hill streams of the Western Ghats would also make an interesting project with <em><a class="link_species" href="/species/puntius-filamentosus" rel="/species/puntius-filamentosus/?hover=true">Puntius filamentosus</a></em>, <em><a class="link_species" href="/species/puntius-fasciatus" rel="/species/puntius-fasciatus/?hover=true">P. fasciatus</a></em>, <em><a class="link_species" href="/species/puntius-narayani" rel="/species/puntius-narayani/?hover=true">P. narayani</a></em>, <em><a class="link_species" href="/species/puntius-ticto" rel="/species/puntius-ticto/?hover=true">P. ticto</a></em>, <em>Barilius bakeri</em>, <em>B. canarensis</em>, <em><a class="link_species" href="/speciesario-aequipinnatus" rel="/speciesario-aequipinnatus/?hover=true">Devario aequipinnatus</a></em>, <em><a class="link_species" href="/speciesario-malabaricus" rel="/speciesario-malabaricus/?hover=true">D. malabaricus</a></em>, <em>Rasbora daniconius</em>, <em>Laubuca laubuca</em>, <em>Nemacheilus rupelli</em>, <em>Mesonemacheilus triangularis</em> and <em><a class="link_species" href="/species/mesonoemacheilus-guentheri" rel="/species/mesonoemacheilus-guentheri/?hover=true">M. guentheri</a></em> among the numerous suitable <a class="link_glossary" href="/glossary/s/species" rel="/glossary/s/species?hover=true">species</a> available in the trade at times.\r\n\r\nIt''s a shoaling <a class="link_glossary" href="/glossary/s/species" rel="/glossary/s/species?hover=true">species</a> by nature and really should be kept in a group of at least 8-10 specimens. Maintaining it in decent numbers will not only make the fish less nervous but will result in a more effective, natural-looking display while allowing individuals some respite from the vigorous alpha male(s). Males will also display their best colours and some interesting behaviour as they compete with one other for female attention. In particular the dominant individual in a given group will develop some stunning colouration.'),
(104408, 2288, 'dimorphism', 'The male is noticeably slimmer and more brightly coloured than the female especially when the fish are in <a class="link_glossary" href="/glossary/s/spawning" rel="/glossary/s/spawning?hover=true">spawning</a> condition. Most notably the body colouration is more intense, <a class="link_glossary" href="/glossary/v/ventral" rel="/glossary/v/ventral?hover=true">ventral</a> fins tipped with white, other finnage redder and prominent tubercules develop around the <a class="link_glossary" href="/glossary/s/snout" rel="/glossary/s/snout?hover=true">snout</a> and head in sexually <a class="link_glossary" href="/glossary/m/mature" rel="/glossary/m/mature?hover=true">mature</a> specimens.'),
(104409, 2288, 'reproduction', 'We''re not sure if it has been bred in the hobby although it should certainly be possible. Like most cyprinids this <a class="link_glossary" href="/glossary/s/species" rel="/glossary/s/species?hover=true">species</a> is an <a class="link_glossary" href="/glossary/e/egg" rel="/glossary/e/egg?hover=true">egg</a>-scattering, continuous spawner that exhibits no <a class="link_glossary" href="/glossary/p/parental%20care" rel="/glossary/p/parental%20care?hover=true">parental care</a>. That is to say when the fish are in good condition they will <a class="link_glossary" href="/glossary/s/spawn" rel="/glossary/s/spawn?hover=true">spawn</a> often and in a well-furnished, <a class="link_glossary" href="/glossary/m/mature" rel="/glossary/m/mature?hover=true">mature</a> <a class="link_glossary" href="/glossary/a/aquarium" rel="/glossary/a/aquarium?hover=true">aquarium</a> it is feasible that small numbers of <a class="link_glossary" href="/glossary/f/fry" rel="/glossary/f/fry?hover=true">fry</a> may start to appear without human intervention.\r\n\r\nHowever if you want to increase the yield of <a class="link_glossary" href="/glossary/f/fry" rel="/glossary/f/fry?hover=true">fry</a> a slightly more controlled approach is required and we suggest using an approach that has proven successful for similar members of the <a class="link_glossary" href="/glossary/g/genus" rel="/glossary/g/genus?hover=true">genus</a> as a starting point. The adult group can still be conditioned together but one or more small, say 18" x 10" x 10"/45cm x 25cm x 25cm/29.5 <a class="link_glossary" href="/glossary/l/litre" rel="/glossary/l/litre?hover=true">litre</a> containers should also be set up and half-filled with water. These should be very dimly lit with the <a class="link_glossary" href="/glossary/b/base" rel="/glossary/b/base?hover=true">base</a> either left bare or covered with some kind of mesh of a large enough grade so that any eggs that fail to adhere to the plant can pass through but small enough so that the adults cannot reach them. The widely available plastic ''grass''-<a class="link_glossary" href="/glossary/t/type" rel="/glossary/t/type?hover=true">type</a> matting can also be used and works very well. A decent-sized clump of Java moss or other fine-leaved plant should also be added filling perhaps half the available space. The water should be around <a class="link_glossary" href="/glossary/n/neutral" rel="/glossary/n/neutral?hover=true">neutral</a> <a class="link_glossary" href="/glossary/p/pH" rel="/glossary/p/pH?hover=true">pH</a>, <a class="link_glossary" href="/glossary/G/GH" rel="/glossary/G/GH?hover=true">gH</a> &lt;8, with a slightly raised temperature of 75 - 80°F. A small air-powered <a class="link_glossary" href="/glossary/s/sponge%20filter" rel="/glossary/s/sponge%20filter?hover=true">sponge filter</a> bubbling away very gently is all that is needed in terms of filtration.\r\n\r\nWhen the adult fish are well-conditioned and the females appear full of eggs a single <a class="link_glossary" href="/glossary/p/pair" rel="/glossary/p/pair?hover=true">pair</a> should then be introduced to each container. If conditions are to their liking they should <a class="link_glossary" href="/glossary/s/spawn" rel="/glossary/s/spawn?hover=true">spawn</a> the following morning. Be sure to provide plenty of cover for the female as the male may be quite aggressive in his pursuit of her. In some cases she might even require a period of post-<a class="link_glossary" href="/glossary/s/spawning" rel="/glossary/s/spawning?hover=true">spawning</a> rehabilitation in a <a class="link_glossary" href="/glossary/t/tank" rel="/glossary/t/tank?hover=true">tank</a> that does not contain any males.\r\n\r\nThe adults will eat the eggs given the chance and should be removed as soon as any are noticed. Incubation in <em>Puntius</em> eggs is temperature-dependant to an extent but usually takes between 20 and 48 hours with the young free-swimming 24 to 48 hours later. Initial food should be <em>Paramecium</em> or similar introducing <em><a class="link_glossary" href="/glossary/A/Artemia" rel="/glossary/A/Artemia?hover=true">Artemia</a></em> <a class="link_glossary" href="/glossary/n/nauplii" rel="/glossary/n/nauplii?hover=true">nauplii</a> and/or <a class="link_glossary" href="/glossary/m/microworm" rel="/glossary/m/microworm?hover=true">microworm</a> once the <a class="link_glossary" href="/glossary/f/fry" rel="/glossary/f/fry?hover=true">fry</a> are large enough to accept them.'),
(104410, 2288, 'misc_notes', 'This beautiful <a class="link_glossary" href="/glossary/s/species" rel="/glossary/s/species?hover=true">species</a> is not often seen in the hobby, presumably as a result of its limited distribution, and tends to command a relatively high price when available. It may be seen on sale under the trade names ''Maharaja'' or ''Khavli'' <a class="link_glossary" href="/glossary/b/barb" rel="/glossary/b/barb?hover=true">barb</a>.\r\n\r\nThe <a class="link_glossary" href="/glossary/g/genus" rel="/glossary/g/genus?hover=true">genus</a> <em>Puntius</em> is currently viewed as something of a catch-all for well over 100 <a class="link_glossary" href="/glossary/s/species" rel="/glossary/s/species?hover=true">species</a> of small cyprinid. Most experts agree that a full <a class="link_glossary" href="/glossary/r/revision" rel="/glossary/r/revision?hover=true">revision</a> is required, with the likely outcome that many <a class="link_glossary" href="/glossary/s/species" rel="/glossary/s/species?hover=true">species</a> will be placed into new or different <a class="link_glossary" href="/glossary/g/genera" rel="/glossary/g/genera?hover=true">genera</a>. When describing the <a class="link_glossary" href="/glossary/g/genus" rel="/glossary/g/genus?hover=true">genus</a> in 1822, Hamilton identified the defining characteristics as: "absence or presence of <a class="link_glossary" href="/glossary/m/maxillary" rel="/glossary/m/maxillary?hover=true">maxillary</a> only or <a class="link_glossary" href="/glossary/r/rostral" rel="/glossary/r/rostral?hover=true">rostral</a> and <a class="link_glossary" href="/glossary/m/maxillary" rel="/glossary/m/maxillary?hover=true">maxillary</a> barbels; <a class="link_glossary" href="/glossary/d/dorsal" rel="/glossary/d/dorsal?hover=true">dorsal</a> <a class="link_glossary" href="/glossary/f/fin" rel="/glossary/f/fin?hover=true">fin</a> with last <a class="link_glossary" href="/glossary/s/simple%20ray" rel="/glossary/s/simple%20ray?hover=true">simple ray</a> <a class="link_glossary" href="/glossary/s/serrate" rel="/glossary/s/serrate?hover=true">serrate</a> or entire, <a class="link_glossary" href="/glossary/b/branched%20rays" rel="/glossary/b/branched%20rays?hover=true">branched rays</a> usually 8; anal <a class="link_glossary" href="/glossary/f/fin" rel="/glossary/f/fin?hover=true">fin</a> with last <a class="link_glossary" href="/glossary/s/simple%20ray" rel="/glossary/s/simple%20ray?hover=true">simple ray</a> entire, <a class="link_glossary" href="/glossary/b/branched%20rays" rel="/glossary/b/branched%20rays?hover=true">branched rays</a> usually 5; <a class="link_glossary" href="/glossary/l/lateral%20line" rel="/glossary/l/lateral%20line?hover=true">lateral line</a> complete or incomplete, <a class="link_glossary" href="/glossary/l/lateral" rel="/glossary/l/lateral?hover=true">lateral</a>-line scales 17-36 in row; <a class="link_glossary" href="/glossary/c/cephalic" rel="/glossary/c/cephalic?hover=true">cephalic</a> <a class="link_glossary" href="/glossary/c/cutaneous" rel="/glossary/c/cutaneous?hover=true">cutaneous</a> <a class="link_glossary" href="/glossary/p/papillae" rel="/glossary/p/papillae?hover=true">papillae</a> minute or absent; <a class="link_glossary" href="/glossary/p/pharyngeal%20teeth" rel="/glossary/p/pharyngeal%20teeth?hover=true">pharyngeal teeth</a> in 3 rows, usually 2,3,5/5,3,2; colour pattern extremely variable." All the <a class="link_glossary" href="/glossary/s/species" rel="/glossary/s/species?hover=true">species</a> currently in the <a class="link_glossary" href="/glossary/g/genus" rel="/glossary/g/genus?hover=true">genus</a> are <a class="link_glossary" href="/glossary/n/native" rel="/glossary/n/native?hover=true">native</a> to Southeast Asia, India and Sri Lanka.\r\n\r\nThe other main source of confusion with <em>Puntius</em> is that some authors do not recognise all the member <a class="link_glossary" href="/glossary/s/species" rel="/glossary/s/species?hover=true">species</a> as such, rather following Walter Rainboth (1996) and preferring to place some into the alternative <a class="link_glossary" href="/glossary/g/genus" rel="/glossary/g/genus?hover=true">genus</a> <em>Systomus</em>. Rainboth proposed that <em>Systomus</em> should be reinstated (it was first erected in the 19th century) as a valid <a class="link_glossary" href="/glossary/g/genus" rel="/glossary/g/genus?hover=true">genus</a> on account of the fact that in its current state <em>Puntius</em> would seem to constitute a <a class="link_glossary" href="/glossary/p/polyphyletic" rel="/glossary/p/polyphyletic?hover=true">polyphyletic</a> grouping i.e. not all of its members appear to have descended from the same common ancestor. The defining characteristics of a <em>Systomus</em> <a class="link_glossary" href="/glossary/s/species" rel="/glossary/s/species?hover=true">species</a> are (according to Rainboth) a <a class="link_glossary" href="/glossary/s/serrated" rel="/glossary/s/serrated?hover=true">serrated</a> (vs. smooth in <em>Puntius</em>) <a class="link_glossary" href="/glossary/d/dorsal" rel="/glossary/d/dorsal?hover=true">dorsal</a> <a class="link_glossary" href="/glossary/s/spine" rel="/glossary/s/spine?hover=true">spine</a>, the presence of 2 or 4 barbels (vs. always 2) and less than 12 <a class="link_glossary" href="/glossary/g/gill" rel="/glossary/g/gill?hover=true">gill</a> rakers (vs. 12-20). SF tentatively lists all <a class="link_glossary" href="/glossary/s/species" rel="/glossary/s/species?hover=true">species</a> as <em>Puntius</em> at present.'),
(167927, 2288, 'etymology', ''),
(104421, 2288, 'attached_media', 'a:4:{i:0;s:5:"22881";i:1;s:5:"22882";i:2;s:5:"22883";i:3;s:5:"22884";}'),
(150578, 2288, 'references', 'a:2:{i:0;a:5:{s:13:"ref_doc_title";s:67:"Assemblage structure of stream fishes in the Western Ghats (India).";s:12:"ref_pub_year";s:0:"";s:13:"ref_page_nums";s:5:"1-31.";s:14:"ref_publishers";s:17:"Hydrobiologia 430";s:11:"ref_authors";s:19:"Arunachalam M. 2000";}i:1;a:5:{s:13:"ref_doc_title";s:0:"";s:12:"ref_pub_year";s:0:"";s:13:"ref_page_nums";s:0:"";s:14:"ref_publishers";s:16:"www.fishbase.org";s:11:"ref_authors";s:0:"";}}'),
(167925, 2288, '_edit_lock', '1341244017:4'),
(167928, 2288, 'species_author', 'Silas'),
(167929, 2288, 'year_described', '1953'),
(167930, 2288, 'beginner_suitability', '3'),
(167931, 2288, 'type_of_fish', '2')

INSERT INTO `wp_posts` (`ID`, `post_author`, `post_date`, `post_date_gmt`, `post_content`, `post_title`, `post_excerpt`, `post_status`, `comment_status`, `ping_status`, `post_password`, `post_name`, `to_ping`, `pinged`, `post_modified`, `post_modified_gmt`, `post_content_filtered`, `post_parent`, `guid`, `menu_order`, `post_type`, `post_mime_type`, `comment_count`) VALUES
(2288, 4, '2012-03-13 13:24:32', '2012-03-13 13:24:32', '', 'Puntius sahyadriensis', 'This beautiful species is not often seen in the hobby, presumably as a result of its limited distribution, and tends to command a relatively high price when available. It may be seen on sale under the trade names &#039;Maharaja&#039; or &#039;Khavli&#039; barb.\r\n\r\nThe genus Puntius is currently viewed as something of a catch-all for well over 100 species of small cyprinid. Most experts agree that a full revision is required, with the likely outcome that many species will be placed into new or di...', 'publish', 'open', 'open', '', 'puntius-sahyadriensis', '', '', '2012-07-02 16:48:43', '2012-07-02 15:48:43', '', 0, 'http://www.seriouslyfish.com/?post_type=species&#038;p=2288', 0, 'species', '', 0);

If possible, I would like to order them like this:

  • If user searches for a species of fish, i.e. Satanoperca daemon, it should be returned first (this information is the title of a species-type post, and also found in the accompanying genus and species meta fields for that post type).
  • If an article has been written regarding this species, it should be returned below the species itself.
  • If this species of fish is mentioned in other species profiles, these should be returned below the species itself and any articles attached.
  • If user searches for a genus of fish, i.e. Satanoperca, any articles relating to the genus Satanoperca should appear first.
  • The species results should then appear in alphabetical order according to species, i.e. Satanoperca daemon then Satanoperca leucosticta, etc. below any articles written about the genus.

Otherwise, results should appear by relevance, weighted by title (say 5); post content (2); tags (0.5).

Is this possible, at all? I installed the Relevanssi plugin, which would appear to do most of what I require, but after installing it, setting the options and indexing it, searching for Betta splendens returns the species profile last below Amica splendens and a couple of other species.

Thanks in advance,

share|improve this question
What exactly is a "Species" profile? What does "any articles relating to the genus" mean? The "genus" as match inside $post->content? –  kaiser Jul 2 '12 at 17:18
species is a custom post type, like this: seriouslyfish.com/species/puntius-rhomboocellatus. A genus is part of taxonomic classification which I'm storing in a meta_field of the species CPT. –  dunc Jul 2 '12 at 19:00
»What exactly is a "Species" profile?« ... »species is a custom post type, like this: seriouslyfish.com/species/puntius-rhomboocellatus ... so what is the Profile (programmatically)? Also: We need the details (for examples), like the meta_key for the genus tax. –  kaiser Jul 2 '12 at 19:24
Sorry, profile means nothing in context of the post or the code, it's just the term I use for a singular species post - a species profile. I'll update my post with some further information. –  dunc Jul 2 '12 at 19:39
Would the user have to choice on what he has to search? Thus for example the user types "Satanoperca" and then has to select "Species" or "Genus" to search. Or will it be one search box with one search button? –  Aleks Jul 3 '12 at 11:36
show 1 more comment

2 Answers

Yes, Relevanssi will do the trick for you, but you need some additional code. Relevanssi has a filter hook relevanssi_hits_filter, which lets you modify the list of results.

So, you need to create a function that will take the hits and if there's a species profile that matches the search query, the function will add it to the top of the results.

Something like this:

add_filter('relevanssi_hits_filter', 'fish_filter');
function fish_filter($hits) {
    // $hits[0] has the array of hits found
    // $hits[1] has the search query
    $results = array();

    if ($hits[1] matches a species) {
        $sp_post = get_post(the correct post ID);
        $results[] = $sp_post;
    if (posts about species exist) {
        $sp_posts = fetch them somehow;
        array_merge($results, $sp_posts);

    // and so on for other article types

    // then the rest of the posts
    foreach ($hits[0] as $hit) {
        if (!in_array($hit, $results)) $results[] = $hit;
        // this skips all the posts that are already in the results

    $hits[0] = $results;
    return $hits;

That's the basic structure. Of course there are lots of details you need to fill in yourself, how to recognise the posts you want and how to fetch them, but I don't think there's an easier solution than this.

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Mikko - that looks great, thanks. I'll try to implement this tonight. What settings should I be going for in the Relevanssi admin area if I'm to implement this? I guess some things will need "turning off"? –  dunc Jul 4 '12 at 10:41
Nothing in particular, no. You can use any settings you want, this should be pretty much independent on your Relevanssi settings. –  Mikko Saari Jul 5 '12 at 4:11
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I'm not entirely sure you will find a plugin to do exactly what you need. I've tried many 'out of the box' plugins and have resorted to tailor making my own search. There are just too many variations to anticipate. An addition is to auto suggest where possible based on context. If a user is searching as specifically as mentioned then there aren't too many alternative results. I.e. Let users select specific tags from an autosuggest list after selecting a species. Then show results. What about spelling errors?

In short the answer to your question is YES it is possible, but not without writing your own search or changing the way users are searching/navigating. Sometimes, doing things differently holds a better solution to the problem.

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I'm really not sure if this is an Answer or a Comment... –  brasofilo Jul 2 '12 at 7:29
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