How to Use Internal Search for SEO

Internal search data provides useful insights on how your customers search. Basically, your customers are giving you free keyword research.

1. Information Architecture

Look at how your customers are searching and compare that to the information architecture. Does your category system match how customers search?

2. Indexable Search Pages

Don’t limit your landing pages to your defined category pages. Create indexable search pages. You’ve probably heard Google doesn’t like to index search pages, but they do.

Really, the difference between a category page and a search page is design and content. You can fix this. This means design, a heading, maybe get rid of some of those facets. That’s all you really have to do.

We’re just making it look more curated than automated. This also means adding a title and meta description that make sense. And if a search page returns only a few results, make sure to go ahead and noindex it. This will help you avoid Panda and duplicate content problems.

3. Related Search on Search & Category Pages

It can also power related search, think “people who searched for this also search for that.” There are a lot of ways to do this, so just pick one that works. Now you have an internal search driven linking system that will expose these indexable search pages.

4. Related Search on Product Pages

Don’t limit this to your category and search pages. Think “people who found this product also searched for this.” Practically, it’s a search-driven tagging system.

5. International Keyword Research

Do this for international sites. Internal search is basically keyword research in its targeted language. This is invaluable for sites that don’t have resources to translate content for all their international domains.

6. Trending Searches

Make sure you’re using search deltas. Top search terms are great, but trending is better. This modifies your internal linking structure based on seasonality and events. By doing this, you can drive internal link value to pages while their demand is the highest.

7. Search Pages in XML Sitemaps

Include your dynamic search pages in your XML sitemap. Concatenate your top search terms into your URL pattern for your new indexable landing pages. I highly recommend filtering this list by adult terms, search volume, and grammar.

Now just submit them to Google. Depending on your domain authority, you can get a significant number of pages indexed this way.

So if you’re currently not using your internal search data, find a way to get your hands on it.

 

Sometimes SEO is Just SEO

It’s easy to get wrapped up in the growing complexity of SEO. I’m guilty of this myself.

However, sometimes it’s nice to be reminded that there is value in the same SEO we’ve been doing for years. I’ve had a reminder like this recently that I’d like to share (well, within reason… I can’t share all the details).

Read moreSometimes SEO is Just SEO

Impact of Keyword Cannibalization: Beyond The SEO

Keyword Cannibalization. Duplicate Content. Crawl Priority. All of these are inherently SEO jargon, which can downplay the significance of such problems to boards, exec teams, or senior management. These problems sometimes exist due to information architecture problems or issues with the CMS. However, keyword cannibalization can be the result of a much larger, strategic problem for a company. A problem that can significantly minimize realized revenue. Let’s step out of SEO for a moment and look at some economic aspects of such a problem.

Read moreImpact of Keyword Cannibalization: Beyond The SEO