Internet Marketing Ninjas Blog

How to Find if a Page is in Google’s Secret Supplemental Results.

A method to find if a page is in Google’s New Secret Supplemental Results.

After reading Danny’s post today on "Google Dumping The Supplemental Results Label." I thought I’d write on how I’ll analyze a page to see if it might be in the Supplemental Results…even if Google won’t tell me outright that a page is in the Supplemental Results Index, I can still get a pretty good guess if a specific page is now in Google’s now Secret Supplemental Results Index.

An example page that’s show’s a recent cache, but is probably Supplemental’d.
Look at this URL /jim/2006/05/page/3/

There’s a cache from July 12th (at this time… that’s 2 weeks ago)…that’s "ok fresh" for a page that’s pretty burried in my site. As of about a month ago I wouldn’t worry about a page possibily being in the supplemental index unless the cache was several months old…today, checking the date of the cache is worthless…Google’s spidering the supplemenal index much more frequently…but funny, they’re not really saving or counting the entire content of pages that are in the supplimental index. (so why bother?…(to fool SEO’s?)).

Warning Flag that you’re page is in the Secret Supplimental Index:
For those viewing PageRank, notice that page is a "white bar" Pagerank. (White Bar is a great "Flag" that is might be Supplemental…grey bar is another great "flag" (Pagerank 0’s)).

Content on Supplemental pages are not fully indexed:
At SMX Seattle, someone asked Matt about why some pages don’t show up for exact phrase quote searches…even if Google show’s a cache of that page..and even if the page is Supplemental’d (searching an exact phrase that only appears on 1 page on the internet….why get 0 search results?), and Matt said something to the effect of "content on pages in the supplemental index are not fully indexed" (not an exact quote…but it’s what I recall him saying as his response). I have found this to be true (at least today).

Here’s how to check if a page might be in the Secret Supplemental Index (SSI):
You’re going to check to see if content on that page is indexed, and if that content is #1 for an exact phrase search. If the page in question is not #1, there’s a very good chance that that page is in the Secret Supplemental Index (SSI).

The way I check content is by grabbing the end of one sentence, and the beginning on the next sentence….usually about 7-10 words total. In this example, I used the red circled text (how many other pages are going to have that exact phrase on them???). So I copy that phrase, go to Google run a search with that phrase wrapped in quotes.


Which brings me to this page where there’s 1 result listed, and below is "repeat the search with the omitted results included."

The one page listed is not the URL I was checking for (….but the 1 url listed ( IS the page that Google probably thinks is the real page (the other pages are probably supplemental results).

If you click on "repeat the search with the omitted results included", you’ll see a total of 4 pages….all from, and the original URL I was seeking to find was not even listed…..that’s a pretty damn good sign that the page is supplemental’d….google has a cache of yet it doesn’t even show up as a result…it’s toast…it’s been sent to Google Hell (Supplemental Results)…even if they don’t tell me, I know now.

FYI, even if the URL in question was listed as one of the 4 search results, if it wasn’t #1, then the others are also prob supplimental’d, or are on their way there.

And if there were no results for my search, then again, the page is in the Secret Supplemental Index….

So the secret to seeing if a page is in the Secret Supplemental Results Index is to check to see if an exact quote from a page returns that page as the #1 result. It usually only needs to be done if the page in question shows no pagerank.

These are not Absolutes…but it’s a pretty good guide to "most of the times".

In Danny’s article he also said "Google sent along this tip for finding supplemental pages now that the label is going":

First, get a list of all of your pages. Next, go to the webmaster console [Google Webmaster Central] and export a list of all of your links. Make sure that you get both external and internal links, and concatenate the files.

Now, compare your list of all your pages with your list of internal+external backlinks. If you know a page exists, but you don’t see that page in the list of site with backlinks, that deserves investigation. Pages with very few backlinks (either from other sites or internally) are also worth checking out.

Now just to recap some major reasons why pages might be in the new Secret Supplemental Results:

Duplicate Content, too little content, or orphaned pages, as well as having no outside sites linking to pages, and poor internal linking (only a few internal links to that page), are the major reasons Google tosses these pages to Google Hell.



38 Responses

  1. This is the first impression that I got:

    Besides the obvious “supplemental result” tag in a search result, the easiest way to check to see if you’re supplemental is the check the cache date. If it hasn’t been cached in 3 or 4 months then you’re probably supplemental or will be soon. By removing the label and increasing the cache frequency Google is hiding whether or not you’re supplemental.

    People are quick to complain and criticize Google about how their website is in the supplemental index. Now no one will be able to tell and it will take a little heat off of Google. I think them saying that they are working to integrate it more with the main result is just sugar coating it to make it seem like them hiding this info is a good thing.

  2. I definitely agree with Matt above, that this is just a lot of shoving problems under a rug to hide them. Out of sight, out of mind? I think they underestimate us…

    Something to be aware of though is that a lot of new pages seem to be given the gray bar instead of the old 0-PR white bar. I still feel that if a page has 50 real page backlinks to it but it has that gray bar it’s not worthless, especially if it’s under a month old and simply hasn’t been given the trust it deserves yet by the Google machinery.

    In other words, I have to feel that REAL page backlinks are still a larger indicator of individual page power over anything else, especially if you can prove that the content of that page is not duplicate in Google’s eyes.

  3. Good point Rob….just because the page is a PR0 does not mean it’s a “bad” page or that it’s supplemental’d…it might be that it’s a new page (and it might be valuable) that just hasn’t been assigned toolbar pagerank yet…checking to see if the content is indexed it the true test.

  4. Great rundown of Hell Jim! We need to remember that shoveling Pagerank internally is mandatory, especially for large content sites. Creating sitemaps is good, but internal linking in a WIKIPEDIA style helps distribute that PR to those supplemental pages, boosting them outta of Hell. Of course, we need to consider the content (and amount) and external links to internal content sources.

  5. Hi

    I have a real simple way to find supplementals that still works

    site: -assdsd

    In order to show you the most relevant results, we have omitted some entries very similar to the 227 already displayed.
    If you like, you can repeat the search with the omitted results included.


  6. Not bad thinking Jim, little different approach then the usual. Generally I just focus on making high quality unique pages with good links, or links from trusted sites to avoid that problem.

  7. Nice write up Jim.

    Other reasons, confirmed by Googlers, are page staleness and URL complexity (many query strings not in consistent order, for example).

    For me only) and*(main index only) are still working, though the results don’t display the supplemental results label.

    Here’s an exact quote of what Matt said at SMX (which I posted in the comments over at SEL but I’ll repost here):

    “We parse pages and we index pages differently when they’re in the supplemental index. Think of it almost as if its sort of a compressed summary. So we’ll index some of the words in different ways on pages from the supplemental index, but not necessarily every single word in every single phrase relationship…”

  8. Hi Jim,

    My website had almost 300-400 pages in supplement results, and now they are back in the main database of Google. I have pasted the whole title of that page in the google search but i can’t find them. It is still in the supplement results or Google just removed the tag Supplement Results.


  9. “now they are back in the main database of Google”

    Steve, pay attention 🙂 All Google did was remove the “supplemental results” label. Nothing in the backend has changed. So no, your 300-400 pages are not back in Google’s main database.

  10. Look get over supplemental results. Focus on how your site is structured and themed. If you have great structure and theme from relevant text content and title tag attributes you’ll be fine. Stop worrying about finding pages to “fix” if the whole site is broken structurally.

    [**edited out** by Jim] 

    Jim. Thank you for you insight. I find it interested, but unfortunately we share somewhat differing views. Please do not remove this message. I do want people to come to yourself and I for help, hence willing to respond via this post for all to see. Also Jim, I’d love to talk with you sometime if you ever get time. Never got a chance to meet you, and I do not attend an SES conferences, etc. I feel they are sales up and up. But that’s my opinion from close friends that attend. Have a great day guys!

  11. Jim, I didn’t mean to place it that way. I don’t sell through my two websites. I am trying to provide a real person they can call, just as Dan and others have done. I apologize for going about it the wrong way.

  12. Hello Jenna! Welcome to Jim’s site. I just came around today myself.

    If you don’t have any supplemental results in Google you’re good to go. [Well, not necessarily] you just don’t have anything currently “recycled” as far as your web content. If you would share the URL with us we could have a quick glance if you’d like.

  13. I got a new site, and it went to supplemental even though it’s got all unique content. What I never understand about google is why it keeps some pages (which are formatted very similarly except for different content, page title, meta tags) and it dumps others into its now secret supplemental results.

  14. Hi, the post was a very interesting one. Especially for the guys like me . I had read about How to Find if a Page is in Google’s Secret Supplemental Results. I don’t Know how much will be more effective. But anyway thanks for such an interesting post. If it works for me then it is great. Thank you.

    Have a nice day

  15. Pingback: Backlinking Secrets

Comments are closed.


Meet The Bloggers

Jim Boykin
Jim Boykin

Founder and CEO

Ann Smarty
Ann Smarty

Community & Branding Manager