25 Nov 2005

Damned to Google Hell – Supplemental Results

Google Supplemental Results


They’ve been called "the Kiss of Death", "Google Hell", and "Screwed Pages" (Ok, I just made those up), but in any case, Supplemental Results is not where you want your pages to be if you expect traffic from Google.

Let’s see google’s official defination from their webmaster page:

Supplemental sites are part of Google’s auxiliary index. We’re able to place fewer restraints on sites that we crawl for this supplemental index than we do on sites that are crawled for our main index. For example, the number of parameters in a URL might exclude a site from being crawled for inclusion in our main index; however, it could still be crawled and added to our supplemental index.

The index in which a site is included is completely automated; there’s no way for you to select or change the index in which your site appears. Please be assured that the index in which a site is included does not affect its PageRank.

yada yada…."auxilary index"? "fewer restraints"? huh??

Here’s the stuff they aren’t telling you:
Pages from the "regular" index will almost always show up first for any searches. The only time you’ll usually see "supplimental results" is if there’s not many, or any, results in the regular index.  What this means, is that if you’re page about "blue widgets" is in the "Supplemental Results" then you’re screwed as far as having your page rank at all (will not show up at all since there’s pleanty of results for "blue widgets" in a google search. Your only chance of rankings a page that’s in the supplimental results is if someone searched for something super specific like "blue widgets in southbend kansas on market street").

Supplemental Results also tend to have old Google Caches…..in other words, once google has sent them to "Google Hell", they tend not to come back….thus you’ll find pages in the Supplemental Results are dated long ago.

Why does google put pages in the Supplemental Results?
I’ve been able to identify 3 main reasons:
1. Duplicate Content – take someone elses content, get sent to Google Hell (Supplemental Results)
2. No Content – create pages with no content (remember the days of directories that would create 1 million pages with only 100 listing?) – empty pages get sent to Google Hell.
3. Orphaned web pages. Pages that no one links to, including yourself.

Now, for the dirt – how to get out.
1. If you stole content – change it.
2. If there’s no content – add some.
3. If it’s orphaned – link to it.

Now, that’s not eneough…remember, once page are sent to the Supplemental Results, they tend not to get revisited. Once you’ve done your changes, submit a google site map and cross your finders.

If that doesn’t work, try publishing them on new URLs.

Additional help: Barry also points to steveb at webmasterworld who has some advice.

OK…any have other ideas on why a page could be put in the Supplemental Results?
Anyone have more ideas on how to get pages out?