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Auto-generated content by user searches

A not-so-commonly employed content strategy is to automatically generate custom content by user searches. For example, if you’ve got a popular blog, there will be a lot of users searching for things they want to find on your blog. It’s an obvious sign that they want you to write about them. While you are recommended to keep an eye on what they are searching so as to provide content accordingly, you can also make the blog automatically generate search results pages by the searching terms.

I tried to find some WordPress plugins that do this for us but was unable to find any. Basically, the plugin would record all unique user search phrases and present them on a page as a list for the search engines to index the results pages with the custom page titles.

You should use the search term prominently in the page title and in the h1 tag. After the search engine has indexed the search results pages, you will have a lot of custom content pages AND best of all, they are exactly what users and potential visitors want to read. I have seen pretty exciting increase in searching traffic for my quotes site after I have implemented the strategy. The quotes search automatically generates a lot of custom pages by the searching phrase. What the user is searching is usually stuff that’s hard to come by in other sites or search engines so Google is pretty hungry in indexing these pages.

By Yang Yang

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9 replies on “Auto-generated content by user searches”

Google doesn’t like this approach. They demand “make search result pages and other thin pages uncrawlable in robots.txt, or prevent them from indexing with a noindex directive”.

You can get away with it when you invest enough editorial work in the generated pages, but be careful. I’ve run schemes like that for over a decade now, and SEs axed most of the plain auto-generated stuff from the beginnng.

Thanks for the insight!

However, I think as long as Google sends me traffic to the auto-generated pages, it means something: there’s no better pages out there to satisfy the search phrase the user has used to arrive at my site. If there is, it can easily outrank my auto-generated page. And I’m fine with it. But as long as there isn’t and Google will have no choice but to send me the traffic or it’s simply not doing a good job.

There are plenty of long tail searches people use everyday to arrive on crap sites, because all the search results Google can return to them on the first page are not so good. You can leave these traffic to these crap sites or you can do something to garner them for yourself by being a little *crap*. Why not? This is not hurting anyone in any way. The auto-generated pages aren’t so evil nor *crap* as auto-generated content because the content of the auto-generated pages are truly what they claim they are in the <title> tag. It’s no manipulation nor anything.

Take http://www.nutquote.com for example, sometimes the long tail searches get no relevant results in Google at all but plenty of quotes in my database. Why not auto-generate such a page from my quotes site and serve it to the users? It’s a WIN-WIN-WIN solution: Users get the best they can find, Google has relevant results and I get the traffic.

My point is, that when SEs can easily spot the automation, traffic to these pages will decrease eventually. You can get more out of them, when you add editorial content (even unique snippets can do wonders), and/or pull related information, images, or whatever from other sources to enhance UX.

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