When searching the plugin directory on wordpress.org how are the results ranked? It seems the main components are number of downloads and rating, or is there actually a full blown algorithm behind it taking many different statistics into account?

I have searched Google, but all I get are WordPress plugins for SEO instead of information about the way plugins are ranked within the WordPress search.

Finally, what are my options for SEO if I want my plugin to rank highly in wordpress.org?


By default the plugins are ranked by "relevance" and the only people who know how that algorithm is weighted work for wordpress.org (it's doubtful they are going to let anyone in on it).

Downloads and rating are not the main components, just one of many including keywords, date, and how many beers you buy Otto.

You don't have any options to rank high outside using the right words to describe and tag your plugin and creating a good plugin that people like.

  • I thought the directory may be open source as well. – user1721135 Jul 24 '13 at 7:33
  • 1
    Unfortunately it is not. – Wyck Jul 24 '13 at 14:42
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    "how many beers you buy Otto" +1 – kaiser Jul 30 '13 at 23:47

By fiat. The rankings are simply determined by the parent company, Automattic. It is not an algorithm. There may - in fact - be an algorithm, but it's directly manipulated.

Additionally, Automattic culls reviews they don't like. For instance, there are many 1 star ratings of Gutenberg that have been removed. My review, for instance, was suppressed.

I offer that this is illegal and a gross anti-trust violation. It could be the biggest anti-trust issue on the internet. Any lawyers here?


(bumping this as it's one of the first results in google for plugin directory seo)

The way it all works has actually come to light with the new plugin archive. The search algorithm uses Elastic Search and the weighting factors are open-source.

The main quick win factors to consider: does the search keyword exist in all your main content areas, i.e the excerpt, description, tags, authors.

Then next you should consider:

  • rating
  • support threads closed
  • active installs

Plugins will lose rank if they haven't been updated within 180 days or within the last 0.4 WP versions.

This tool https://harlanzw.com/wpa/ will show you what you can do to improve your rank. (I am the author of this tool)

This articles goes into good full detail on how it works: https://freemius.com/blog/seo-on-new-plugin-repository/

  • downvoted as unless you are a wordpress.org site team member, it is unlikely that you can do more than guessing. – Mark Kaplun Dec 30 '17 at 7:22
  • Did you read the mentioned post? The code is open-source as mentioned, you can see it here: meta.trac.wordpress.org/browser/sites/trunk/wordpress.org/…. There is still guessing, just because it's still going through a closed source system, but it is well educated. I've run my code against ranking positions to verify it's providing accurate scores. – Harlan Wilton Jan 6 '18 at 1:57
  • you are welcome to edit you answer and point to an authoritative source if there is one. No one needs to be pointed to your blog, or whatever other non authoritative guesses you can find on the web. There is nothing wrong if you point to your own blog as you have done, but this should be an addition to authoratitive answer, not the other way around – Mark Kaplun Jan 6 '18 at 4:50

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