Index Site Search Pages

What is the best way to handle the indexing (or not indexing) of site search pages?

I have backlinks pointing to search result pages instead of product category pages. For example links pointing to "/search/?s=widget" instead of "/product-category/widgets/". I could redirect them or reach out to the site owners but I think that would get messy fast. Currently the entire "/search/" directory is blocked by robots.txt. Which is effectively preventing Google from seeing those links.

I’m not sure the best way to handle this though. Would I let all of these pages index and potentially have duplicate or allow just the /search/ root page index with rel="canonical"?

What are your thoughts?

Special Characters in Meta Data

One of my clients has a degree sign, "°" in their name. It’s like 360°. I doubt anyone would go through the trouble of searching using that character,
I’ve opted not to use it in their meta data. Now, I want to give them a concrete reason as to why I am not using this character in their meta data, so aside from the trouble it takes for people to formulate the degree symbol, is there another reason I shouldn’t use special characters like that in meta data?
I just want to say something other than, "no one searches for it". Are special characters in meta data detrimental to SEO?
Thanks for your time.

What is the difference between search engine marketing and Internet marketing?

I think this is interesting question. Do you think about this question?
This is my answer: "Search Engine Marketing is specific to marketing your brand/service/products through search engines. It can be in the form of organic search results where landing pages are aimed for higher ranking, or in paid search results, where ads are aimed to display at maximum exposure for targeted keywords at minimal cost possible."

Site Images & Optimisation [Advanced]

Good day everyone!

I am working on a website and have come across an image optimisation situation I am unfamiliar with. When looking at the code the img src contains a URL which is not the image. When you click on it the image downloads to my computer, rather than resolving in the browser. I tried crawling the site with Screaming Frog and it’s not picking up the images.

How do you optimise this, or can you. I can put the ALT in but not sure if it’s worth the time if they can’t be seen. And, what about sitemaps? There seem to be very little images in image search.

Do I need options for every country for multi store setup?

I currently have a shopping cart with multi store setup and I own the rights to a .com domain, my default domain, plus .ca, and .in domains.

In Google Webmaster Tools, locations are set by default such as .ca for Canada, for UK, etc. The .com site has not default location
set and I would set it as USA, but I am afraid that would hurt my abilities to rank in other areas such as Australia or New Zealand that
also count on the .com domain.

My concern is, is it bad that a particular domain does not have a set location? If no location is set for the .com site for instance, would
Google not see the .com site as being for all countries including Canada and Uk and then causing issues when the .com and clash?