How SLP Search Works
Store Locator Plus searching can operate in radius or discrete search mode. The default mode is radius based and is the premise behind much of the operational aspects of the Store Locator Plus plugin. Additional search features and settings can be obtained through the Experience Add-on or Professional subscription suite and/or the Premier /Enterprise Subscription (see below).
Radius Search, in simple terms, the search works by finding all stores in your store list that are within X kilometers or miles from the address that is entered in the search form. The search is fairly simple to understand in a basic setup:
- User picks 10 miles from the radius pulldown on the form.
- User enters the complete address of location they are searching for
- User clicks “Find Locations”.
- A list of all the stores within 10 miles is returned and shown on the map.
Fairly easy to follow, but there are a lot of other ways people use Store Locator Plus
How to Set the search area that you want as a default
Search settings are found under the Settings/search tab. To set the distances that will appear in your search parameter enter your numerical list and separate each unit with a comma. Example: 5, 10, 15 ,25, 100, etc. If you want a default radius to appear in the drop down box on your Store Locator Page, put a parenthesis ( ) around your preferred distance. This will be the radius that first appears in your drop down menu. The distance calculation can be set to display on your search box as kilometers or miles.
Search By City/State/Country
A common question is why stores are not coming up when someone searches solely by a city, state, or country. For simplicity of discussion we will use “search by State” as our point of reference. The most common culprit is a default radius that is set to a low value. The reason this is an issue is that the search is, by default, radius based. The way the base plug-in works it looks at the selected state, queries (asks) Google what the geographic center of that state and using the latitude/longitude Google determines as the center of the state as the starting point to search for an address.If the center of a large state, say Texas, is selected and the radius is set to 100 miles then you may not see stores listed that are on the border of Texas. Same reasoning for country, city searches. Setting a large enough default radius can solve this problem, though it will not restrict results to the selected state.
Hint: There are settings under the MAP and RESULTS settings that also effect how the results will come back after the search is performed.
How to Set the Labels for the Search Form
The label that will be displayed in front of the Search form box on your locator page can be changed.
Consider this label as a help text tool for the site visitor to assist them as to what will return the fastest results. Label Examples: zipcode, city, street, or a combination such as address / zipcode. The more detailed the better. We find address and zip code to be the most useful hint. If you leave this label blank nothing will appear in front of the search form box and your site visitors will be guessing what to enter as keywords to search (the same as any other search boxes). They can type in anything that comes to mind and end up with no results.
The second search box is the drop down menu for your distance units. You want to match the label nomenclature with the distance radii unit selected i.e miles or kilometers. Default is miles unless you change the label.
In discrete search mode the data is filtered to match EXACTLY with the data selected on the drop down menu. If the user uses the city drop down (it shows city plus state to avoid confusion in like-named cities) it will ONLY show entries in the SLP location manager database that match the city and state exactly as displayed. If the user selects a country or state it will only show either the locations in the specific country or the specified state. Locations outside of those selected will not be shown. This mode works best if the radius behavior is “do not use”. If you do not wish to ignore the radius on ALL searches then having a large default radius is prudent as the discrete mode will start by placing the “search from here” marker in the middle of the city, state, or country being selected. Same as above, in a large state such as Texas this may not return ALL of the results in Texas if your default radius is set to 50 miles.