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I would like to know if there exists a name and maybe explanation for a phenomenon described below:

  1. I type into Google (or other search engine) words "chicken quick recipes".
  2. I click the first result I get, because it seems promising. It comes from PortalA.
  3. The webpage I see is not a page with a certain recipe but is a PortalA's inner search engine result list -- at the top of the webpage I see a search bar with words "chicken quick recipes" rewritten. The articles found by the inner search engine are not relevant to what I want, for example one article is on "quick recipes" and other on "chicken" (the words appear in the short summaries of the articles and you can click on links to them).

Of course I somewhat understand how Google works, that I will not always get what I want, and that it might be hard to distinguish that the terms come from different article summaries when it indexes the pages.

But I used not to have such problems, so I wonder if there is a special technique exercised by such portals involved, especially that search engine results seem rather a dynamic page, so how they get indexed at all? Does Google crawler input different search strings into such pages and index resulting pages, it does not seem right?

  • Is your "chicken quick recipes" / PortalA example just a hypothetical example - as I can't seem to reproduce your results? – MrWhite Jan 18 '16 at 20:02
  • It's a hypothetical example and I searched in Polish anyway :) I expect that the results quality might be different in different languages. This portal even transformed my query to it's own "chicken fillets": mniammniam.com/s/filet%20z%20kurczaka, which I think supports your link method theory. – nuoritoveri Jan 19 '16 at 8:26
  • Language/locale might make a difference. To be honest, it's not something I've noticed much of in recent times (English/UK), but I have certainly been frustrated by these sorts of results in the past. (Or maybe my search patterns are just different these days?) – MrWhite Jan 19 '16 at 8:45
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This type of thing, where 3rd party search results get indexed, is something that Google actively tries to avoid. Since, as you have found, it gives a bad user experience.

It's not really a "false-positive", since it is a page containing the keywords/phrase that you searched for. It's just a low quality result and not really what you had in mind. In the case of your example, you might get better results if you search for the exact phrase ie. "chicken quick recipes" (including the quotes).

Any decent webmaster should block their own search results pages from being crawled by the search engines. In fact, on many sites, the indexing of search pages can have a detrimental effect on the site's SEO and general server load.

However, sites do make mistakes and some sites, particularly those scraping/aggregating 3rd party content might simply be trying to make a fast buck by spamdexing - blackhat SEO.

...so how they get indexed at all?

Quite possibly by finding links and crawling them. The site in question might be generating 1000's of links for various search phrases and these are then crawled and followed.

Does Google crawler input different search strings

It's quite possible that Google will complete and submit HTML forms - to see what happens. However, I don't think Google will index recognisable search pages using this method. The link method, mentioned above, is more probable.

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