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I am in the progress of building a website for a client of mine and something worries me. Basicly, the client wants a google like site ( search - display results ) just for companies ( like a phonebook directory of companies ). I have built the website with only one page ( front page ) which also provides the search results.

What worries me is how can that site rank on search engines? Would the content on the front page should be suffice for ranking? Can you think of any other problems I might have from using this type of system?

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The physical website may consist of only one file but if there are querystrings involved then each unique querystring creates a unique URL. So if search results are served using GET instead of POST you are essentially creating a unique page which can potentially be indexed and ranked.

Your real problem is going to come from search engines not submitting forms. This means the search result pages are not available to them. To over come this you should expand the home page to show most popular searches, recent searches, etc. You should probably go even further and create dedicated pages for this which will allow to link to even more search results pages. Search engines will follow those links and index them just like any other dynamic page they find.

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Google for one, can index search pages if specified to do so ( check in google webmasters, you can define the search page and url parameters), without exclusivly specifing the search page in webmaster, most of the chances are that the pages will not be indexed ( for example: "MySite.com/?search=Word" ). about creating other pages, like popular etc.., well, i need to write content for those, which my client is not interested in doing. so even due i do have pages like that, they are still served from the main page. – Dementic Sep 10 '11 at 17:16
I think you're confused about a very important thing. There is no "main page". You may have one file that serves all of the content but each unique URL, even if served from the same file, is a different page. So one file can create an unlimited number of pages. – John Conde Sep 10 '11 at 17:33
that is not right, since the search is performing a POST request. so, basicly you start at MySite.com and end up in MySite.com with no querystring, just diffrent content. – Dementic Sep 10 '11 at 17:35
If you're using POST then it essentially is a one page website. You lose the advantage of internal linking which will definitely hurt their SEO. They're going to have to depend almost entirely on incoming links if they want to have a chance to rank well. They really should consider changing from POST to GET. It opens up a lot more opportunities for them even beyond SEO. Using GET allows users to share search results which is obviously a good thing. – John Conde Sep 10 '11 at 18:00

You need backlinks to the full url (including query string) of pages you want to rank for. Or useful content on the directory listings within your site that are likely to accrue links.

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well, as i said, the site has no more pages or content besides the frontpage and building backlinks to the only existing page is pretty obvious. – Dementic Sep 10 '11 at 16:41
No, you misunderstand. SE's won't enter every possible phrase or keyword into your homepage search and index each results page. If you want results to rank, you need to build backlinks to the results pages. – Anonymous Sep 10 '11 at 20:10

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