Search Engine Optimization October 18th, 2011
Most websites have search boxes as they’re highly useful to visitors, allowing them to browse the site and get what they want. It’s important to note that the search page is not a “part” of the website and that it generates content based on the search query. Even though it’s not actually part of a website, search engines still index results pages. So optimizing them is very important as you can increase the visibility of said pages in search engines.
Search engines have to trust your website in order to rank your “website search pages.” In order to achieve this there should be a considerable number of searches taking place on the website. Big portals and eCommerce sites will gain Google’s trust easily because of the higher number of internal site searches. Below are some tips to optimize your search pages.
The search functionality should deliver relevant web pages/products and should strictly relate to the phrases being searched for. For example: If visitors are searching for “Search Engine Optimization,” the site should only retrieve the pages talking about “Search Engine Optimization.”
In most cases you will see that search URLs are generated with query URLs – not exactly user friendly. Try to convert it into a friendlier URL, it’s recommended to have the following format:
http://domain.com/search/search-term/ – Recommended Search URL format.
http://domain.com/?=search-term – URL with query strings and not search engine friendly.
As we all know, page titles play a vital role in SEO. Below I’ve indicated the proper title format for search pages.
“Search Term” | Company/Website Name
It’s best to define the H1 term of the search page by including the search term in it.
To increase user friendliness and to make the search pages more effective, it’s advisable to display the recent/relevant/popular search terms in your site’s left/right navigation.
Also remember that search engines will not be able to crawl your search pages only until it’s linked from the website. So it’s pretty much mandatory to have a “popular search terms” widget on your website in order to rank your search pages in search engines.
Check out our blog entry on tracking internal site search terms in Google Analytics. Google Analytics enables you to sort out the search terms that are being searched within your website, which can later be optimized accordingly. Here are few examples that caught my attention:
Above are two examples of search pages that are listed in Google for the keywords “easy mp3 cutter/easy mp3 cutter 2.9” When you cross check all the points that are mentioned in this blog along with the above listed websites, you’ll notice some very interesting similarities!