I have a site that is simply a search box to search a cloud-hosted database of .tiff images, and then all of my content can only be accessed by entering a search term. So for example, you're on the home page www.example.com and you type in "search" to the box and hit submit. Then it takes you to www.example.com/?q=search, which is a page of all my .tiff images with "search" in the description. How can I get a page like www.example.com/?q=search indexed, WITHOUT making a humungous list of search terms that people might type in?? I know about mod_rewrite, but it seems like for that you need to know ahead of time which URLs you'll need to convert, which I don't. All of these pages will be dynamically user-generated by typing into the search field. Please help!

2 Answers 2


Google has stated they do not want to index search results from other sites (IE their search results leading someone else's search results is considered poor customer experience) so you'll have an uphill battle to get them indexed and ranked.

Beyond that what you'll need to do is get some links from your home page to some of the search results, as you mentioned you want it to be fully automated so I'd suggest a "recent searches" box on the home page that has links to the results pages for the last 10 or 20 searches.

Once you get Google into some of the interior pages you'll want to make sure they go further then just the one page, you may want to include "related searches" on the actual results pages and or a tagging/category box on the image pages themselves (near the description).

It could also help to put a handful of "navigational" links near the search box that users will find useful IE a static link to "trending searches" "all time most popular" "popular tags/categories" etc. All of these can be generated on the fly based on search query data you collect, and will allow Google to start indexing and exploring your internal pages.

Building useful tools on the data that people will like and link too (think Google trends) will also get links for pages that can be "hubs" and link to many interior pages.


What about creating static / SEO friendly pages such as www.example.com/search or www.example.com/someothersearch and have those pages display images from that search results.

Now with search friendly URL's you can generate an XML sitemap and submit it to Google/Bing

I would also create an XML Image sitemap file.

Since your site is all images you should also integrate with pinterest button

Just another thought you could gather all the search phrases from your database and generate and XML sitemap with the dynamic URL's. You're allowed up to 50k URLs per sitemap

  • Wouldn't what you're suggesting involve me making a list of all the possible search terms that someone could enter on my site? There are thousands of possibilities so I want to avoid doing that.
    – Kris
    Commented Jul 27, 2012 at 17:01
  • I was suggesting using the most popular words based on what people are already searching for. If the only way content is found on your site is from a search you'll need to some how generate pages with the content and send those to Google. You need to either use a sitemap or link to the search results pages some where and let Google crawl them.
    – Anagio
    Commented Jul 27, 2012 at 17:08
  • Ok, so maybe a program could be written that keeps track of what searches people are typing in, and build a list of queries from there. Then we could feed that list into a program that modified the dynamic URLs to static URLs, and send those to Google. Is that right?
    – Kris
    Commented Jul 27, 2012 at 19:42
  • @Kris yes that's one way you can also generate your own just from what you think is popular.
    – Anagio
    Commented Jul 27, 2012 at 20:22
  • If you have meta information in the images, use a library such as sno.phy.queensu.ca/~phil/exiftool to extract it and generate static pages using the meta information. Another idea is use color extraction and generate pages of images based on colors that are indexable. One way or the other to get indexed you have to get Google crawlable URLs.
    – Anagio
    Commented Jul 29, 2012 at 11:20

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.