I am a wondering if there is a recommended "best practice" for a product search SEO. I know to create a dynamic sitemap file that lists links to all products in the site. However, I want to implement a bookmark-able "advanced search". Should I let search engines index any of the results? Take the following parameters for a search on a make believe used car website:

  • minprice (minimum price in dollars)
  • maxprice (maximum price in dollars)
  • make (honda, audi, volvo)
  • model (accord, A4, S40)
  • minyear (minimum model year)
  • maxyear (maximum model year)
  • minmileage (minimum mileage)
  • maxmileage (maximum mileage)

Given these parameters, there could be an infinite number of search combinations:

  • Price Between $10,000 and $20,000
    • /search?minprice=10000&maxprice=20000
  • Audis with less than 50k miles
    • /search?model=audi&maxmileage=50000
  • More than 100,000 miles and less than $5,000
    • /search?minmileage=100000&maxprice=5000
  • etc.

Over time, there may be inbound links to a variety of these types of searches, yet they are all slices of the same data. Should I allow for all of these searches to be indexed?


Google's Webmaster Guidelines state very clearly that they don't want you trying to get search results pages indexed:

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.

If you have an "Advanced Search" page then it's probably okay to let that be indexed, but including a Disallow: /results line in your robots.txt file or a <meta name="robots" content="noindex"> in the head tag of results pages is recommended.

  • Search result pages are very different than product listing pages with filters. If your site sells widgets, they don't mind you having a list of the widgets you sell on a page, as well as a page that lists "<brand> wigets" and one for "blue widgets". Especially if those pages have additional functionality beyond just a list -- such as other filters that can be applied. – Stephen Ostermiller Oct 23 '13 at 19:38
  • That's true, there's usually a clear difference between a "Search Results" page and a product listing or "Category" page. In this case the OP asked about "Advanced Search" and listed URLs as "/search..." so I responded specifically to that. – Andrew Lott Oct 23 '13 at 20:20
  • So what I am hearing is that it is OK to have "landing" pages as long as there is: a) a reasonable amount of them and b) they have unique titles and descriptions. For example I could have a "Hondas" page or a "Newer Cars" page, but I wouldn't want to let them index all possible combinations. Is this correct? – dana Oct 23 '13 at 21:09

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