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.