Stephen Ostermiller's Blog

SEO Myth: Site search can power SEO friendly pages

Site search can produce pages targeted towards phrases for which you would like to rank in search engines. It is tempting to try to make those pages SEO friendly and link to them so that they get indexed in search engines. That isn't a good idea. If you do so, Google could penalize your entire site.

Some people try to make search result pages SEO friendly:

  • Rewrite /s/blue-widgets to /search?blue-widgets
  • Ensure the site search page has an appropriate title and meta description
  • Link to /s/blue-widgets on your website

However, Google doesn't like this. It is bad user experience for users to click off the Google search results only to find themselves on another set of search results. When Google finds a site that allows their search results to be crawled and indexed, Google can penalize the whole site. See Matt Cutts: Search results in search results.

If you want to target a page to "blue widgets" it needs to contain more than just links and snippets of other pages on your site. Any page that Google indexes should be useful without requiring that users click to other pages.

You also need to ensure that your system won't produce pages for spam terms. Google may test to see if /s/buy-viagra-online produces a page on your site. If you site gives a page for a spam URL like that, Google will consider your site to be very spammy.

This article was written as part of a series about SEO myths.

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