I have a site with a search form. When someone searches, the url for the results page has PHP variables in it and looks like:


Would Google be able to index these sorts of pages? Can crawler bots somehow trigger 'searches'?


2 Answers 2


Google will attempt to find out by itself whether or not these query string parameters are showing new content, or are just used for tracking and do nothing to the page.

However, you can specify how Google should handle parameters via webmastertools. Go to Crawl --> URL Parameters, and then you will see the parameters that google recognized (you can also add them manually). Then, you can choose between letting Google decide what to do with it, or to specify manually whether it "Doesn't affect page content" or Changes, Reorders, or narrows. See here an example:

Webmastertools url parameters

Since it's a search form, and it shows content that appears on other URLs of the site, I'd just leave it for Google to handle to see what happens. Most of the time I leave it on default (let googlebot decite) and so far I did not encounter major problems, SEO-wise.

If you choose "Yes", read Google's documentation first since there are different ways to handle multiple parameters, such as in your case, depending on the behavior of your search form and on what you want to reach:



In short, yes Googlebot can crawl your search results, and it can even from time to time fill out form fields.

However, I would strongly advise you block your search result pages with a robots.txt file. This is actually recommended in Google's Webmaster Guidelines,

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.

which was initially discussed on Googler Matt Cutts' blog: Search results in search results.

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