Recently, Matt Cutts posted about search results in search results, as apparently Vanessa had updated the guidelines about this a bit after some uncertainty as to how you should handle your sites search results. The guideline now states:
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.
Of course you could start by arguing that your search result pages do add a lot of value and don’t block them from the SE on that account. What I find more intriguing though, is that Google is telling me to block them. Loads of people have been talking about this, and how Google apparently is not able to filter this out algorithmically, otherwise they wouldn’t have asked you to block these results. Now all that is fine with me, if Google doesn’t want me to let them index my search results, I won’t let them. I do however have a problem with how they’re asking me to block those results, and with the example Matt gave in his post.
As a result of that question, YouTube added a ‘Disallow: /results?’ line in its robots.txt file. That’s good because as Google recrawls web pages, we’ll see that and begin to drop those search results.
First of all, if you choose to block them through robots.txt, I’d advise you to do so only for Google. After all, we haven’t heard from Yahoo!, MSN and Ask on this, and why block pages that might get you good traffic from these search engines…
Next to that, I propose not blocking those pages, but doing a conditional redirect for Google. Think of it, if people are linking to your search results, these results were apparently adding value for them. Google, oddly enough, doesn’t want to index the page that was adding value for this customer, but the solution it gives for that is throwing away a lot of the link equity that apparently satisfied reader gave you.
So, in my opinion, the best solution, is to 301 redirect Google to the first result of the search that was linked to, that is, if you trust your site’s search engine enough. If that’s too slow, or too hard to code, You could just 301 redirect to your homepage.