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In terms of SEO and maintainability.

My website is based on WordPress, it's currently using WordPress search and it's using the same URL as the home page to return search results i.e. say my website is at domain.com then the search results are at domain.com/?<parameters>

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  • The functionnality is native in Wordpress. Why don't you want implement it again?
    – Zistoloen
    Dec 27, 2012 at 8:33
  • I wouldn't say this is native functionality but I agree that there is a common "WordPress" way to do things here - point the search results to a WordPress "page" named "Search Results" or the like. Unfortunately, the person who implemented the search for my site didn't do so. I missed this out during testing.
    – ericn
    Dec 27, 2012 at 10:39

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Generally, Google or Bing don't index URLs with queries in them (ie: domain.com/?q=test). This can also be considered a black hat method because Google has warned people not to have their site search results indexed by Google. If you go to http://support.google.com/webmasters/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=35769 you will see that under technical guidelines it says:

Use robots.txt to prevent crawling of search results pages or other auto-generated pages that don't add much value for users coming from search engines.
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  • thanks, @ub3rst4r! Sure, I don't need to index the search results page then. I just need maintainability as a result, is there any way I can allow crawling of the page (I would like to leverage Google Webmaster to check server errors - my site search broke down a while ago) while still not indexing it?
    – ericn
    Dec 27, 2012 at 10:43
  • The only way I think you can do that would be if you put a link to your site search in the sitemap.xml but you can be penalized for that by Google. Dec 27, 2012 at 20:25
  • ub3rst4r, do you have a link where it is documentated that Google/Bing don't index URLs with a query parameter?
    – unor
    Dec 27, 2012 at 22:04
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    The first sentence of this answer is false, but the rest is good info. Google and most search engines do in fact index URLs containing query strings for the simple fact that a ton of sites/apps still haven't switched entirely to friendly URLs. E.g. YouTube results are listed with query strings on Google. Friendly URLs are better for usability, but Google's only recommendation is to avoid parameters that produce duplicate content (e.g. an SID parameter or referral ID). But even in those cases, you can set a canonical URL or use Google's parameter handling tool. Dec 28, 2012 at 12:34

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