01 Aug 2007

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 (webuildpages.com/jim/2006/05/page/3/)….but the 1 url listed (webuildpages.com/jim/3-way-linking-2-years-old/) 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 JimBoykin.com, 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 webuildpages.com/jim/2006/05/page/3/ 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.

Thoughts?

Comments

  1. Matt Cotter August 1, 2007 at 1:25 PM

    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. Rob Baker August 1, 2007 at 1:41 PM

    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. Jim Boykin August 1, 2007 at 1:53 PM

    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. Adam Maywald August 1, 2007 at 2:42 PM

    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. The Death of Supplemental Results August 1, 2007 at 7:12 PM

    […] Jim Boykin tells you a method to find if a page is in Google’s New Secret Supplemental Results. As quoted by Jim "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." […]

  6. Clint Dixon August 1, 2007 at 9:21 PM

    Hi

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

    site: jimboykin.com -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.

    Peace!

  7. Jim Boykin August 1, 2007 at 9:30 PM

    Clint…the “omitted” results are different than supplemental pages…always were.

  8. Tyler Dewitt August 2, 2007 at 8:01 AM

    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.

  9. Why Have A Supplemental Index? - TheVanBlog August 2, 2007 at 9:02 PM

    […] In all fairness to Google it’s still possible they’ll give us a way to determine supplemental pages in some fashion through Webmaster Tools. And even if Google doesn’t people will still find a way. At the moment there’s another simple query you can use to find your supplemental pages. It will probably stop working before long, though. Jim Boykin has ideas on another way to find supplemental results. Google sent Danny a way to discover supplemental pages as well. 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. […]

  10. Halfdeck August 3, 2007 at 1:11 AM

    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 site:domain.com/&(supplemental only) and site:domain.com/*(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…”

  11. Steve Dobson August 3, 2007 at 7:51 AM

    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.

    Steve

  12. Halfdeck August 3, 2007 at 11:26 AM

    “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.

  13. LinkingHood v0.2 – Find all your supplemental pages with ease † Hamlet Batista dot Com August 3, 2007 at 11:50 AM

    […] Jim Boykin recommends we look for phrases that should only be in the target page; if the page does not come up for the phrase, then it has to be supplemental. Why? Because supplemental pages are partially indexed. That is a clever solution, but for a lazy SEO like me, or if you have a lot of pages on your site, that’s too much work. Imagine how many years it would take Michael Arrington to do this for TechCrunch! […]

  14. Bye Bye Supplemental - internalmi6.com - technology news xbox 360 ps3 software hardware unix windows August 3, 2007 at 1:52 PM

    […] You are going to need to work on the problem, regardless of how it’s labelled. A large number of poor quality pages is always a problem. However, if you want some ideas on how to see if a page is in supplemental, check out Jim Boykin’s post on the topic. […]

  15. Search Engine Optimization Blog » Bye Bye Supplemental August 3, 2007 at 2:10 PM

    […] You are going to need to work on the problem, regardless of how it’s labelled. A large number of poor quality pages is always a problem. However, if you want some ideas on how to see if a page is in supplemental, check out Jim Boykin’s post on the topic. […]

  16. Friday Night Link-o-rama » Small Business SEM August 3, 2007 at 10:18 PM

    […] Google is taking away the “supplemental” label from all of us overly obsessive search marketers, but Jim Boykin has some ideas on How to Find if a Page is in Google’s Secret Supplemental Results. Hey, if it looks like a supplemental listing and walks like a supplemental….right? […]

  17. Rob Docherty August 4, 2007 at 10:27 AM

    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!

  18. Jim Boykin August 4, 2007 at 11:25 AM

    Rob,
    I removed your phone numbers from your 2 comments…my blog isn’t “sales up and up” either 😉

  19. Rob Docherty August 4, 2007 at 11:32 AM

    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.

  20. Jenna Ryan August 4, 2007 at 4:20 PM

    What does it mean if you don’t have any supplemental results in Google?

  21. Rob Docherty August 4, 2007 at 4:23 PM

    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.

  22. Universos Virtuais August 4, 2007 at 4:26 PM

    Thank you for the nice tip. I am trying to learn about SEO, there isn´t much about SEO in portuguese, so, i am glad i find your blog.

    Have a great weekend!

  23. Google has dumped their supplemental index.. | novovo.net August 5, 2007 at 5:02 AM

    […] Jim Boykin has a good post about the problem and how to recognize results that would have formerly fallen into the supplemental index. […]

  24. Duplicate Content 101 - Bloggeries Blog Forum August 5, 2007 at 3:44 PM

    […] For those interested in reading the announcement, it’s at: Official Google Webmaster Central Blog: Supplemental goes mainstream Based on my reading, Google has not done away with supplemental results. They have stopped labeling results as supplemental. The supplemental index still exists, and still works much the same as it always has. Pages will still end up there, and those pages will not turn up in search results for competitive keywords. According to this page: How to Find if a Page is in Google’s Secret Supplemental Results. – Jim Boykin’s Internet Marketing Blog , pages in the supplemental index may not be completely indexed, so not all the keywords on the page will be used by Google even on long tail keywords. Still seems like a good idea to keep pages primary until they really do get rid of supplemental results entirely. Jay __________________ Online Opportunity […]

  25. Inventive Design | Mitä saatoit menettää loman aikana August 6, 2007 at 4:12 AM

    […] Myös Jim Boykin kertoo miten tunnistaa supplemental indeksiin joutuneet sivut. […]

  26. Supplemental Results a Thing of the Past. : Eric on Search August 6, 2007 at 6:27 PM

    […] Google tends not to want webmasters to focus on certain things (pay no attention to the man behind the screen)…but that is EXACTLY what those who optimize sites are paid to do. We must understand not only what is being done, but the effect it will have. I think Jim Boykins latest discussion of ” How to detect supplementals” in the new label free world of Google is a good start. Hopefully this link will keep his page out of them. (grin). […]

  27. HELM, WHM/cPanel, Windows, Linux and SEO Blog » Blog Archive » SearchCap: The Day In Search, August 1, 2007 August 7, 2007 at 12:26 AM

    […] How to Find if a Page is in Google’s Secret Supplemental Results, Jim Boykin […]

  28. Search Marketing Blog - KoMarketing Associates August 10, 2007 at 6:19 PM

    […] Jim Boykin has a very good post on checking contextual indicators related to your website that may lead to the identification of supplemental results. The summary is this: […]

  29. Brian August 14, 2007 at 12:15 PM

    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.

  30. August ‘07: Best Search/Marketing Posts » Small Business SEM September 2, 2007 at 12:27 AM

    […] Jim Boykin: How to Find if a Page is in Google’s Secret Supplemental Results. […]

  31. patrickHudson September 10, 2007 at 3:30 AM

    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

  32. Search Marketing Digest - The State of the Supplemental Index (And What You Should Know About It) - KoMarketing Associates November 12, 2007 at 11:24 AM

    […] Jim Boykin has a very good post on checking contextual indicators related to your website that may lead to the identification of supplemental results. The summary is this: […]

  33. Best of Jim - 2007. - Jim Boykin’s Internet Marketing Blog December 20, 2007 at 1:59 PM

    […] How to Find if a Page is in Google’s Secret Supplemental Results. August 1, 2007 […]

  34. Everyting You Ever Wanted To Know About SEO | SEOpsCentre April 23, 2008 at 5:10 PM

    […] I’ve seen a lot of talk about “Supplemental Result Index Hell” and, as Michael points out, links from supplemental pages don’t pass value, but since last summer Google have stopped labeling which results in the SERPs come from the supplemental index and have claimed that the distinctions between the supplemental and main index are “continuing to narrow.”  I’ve done a bit of hunting around and the clearest explanation I’ve been able to find is a post by Jim Boykin about How to Find if a Page is in Google’s Secret Supplemental Results.  Jim’s post is from around the same time last year when Google made the change and I’m still wondering whether anyone’s come up with a more precise method to find a definitive answer to the index status of a page. […]

  35. Google - All 2008 Nominees » SEMMYS.org May 19, 2008 at 1:53 PM

    […] How to Find if a Page is in Google’s Secret Supplemental Results Jim Boykin | 8/1/07 […]

  36. Does site:domain.com/* show you non-supplemental Google indexed pages? | SEOptimise January 7, 2010 at 6:48 PM

    […] unsure how accurate this is, the only reference I can find is a comment from Jim Boykin’s How to Find if a Page is in Google’s Secret Supplemental Results from two and a half years ago. And since then, despite pleas to bring it back – Google have […]

  37. Backlinking Secrets April 21, 2010 at 2:23 PM

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    Miracle Traffic Bot is a new SEO and traffic automation software tool from Paul Ponna that was officially released today. Paul and his team have previously released several others best selling products including Copy Paste Systems and Magic List Bot. M…

  38. Google Panda Update – Thoughts and Solutions from Jim Boykin April 26, 2011 at 4:58 PM

    […] pages are in the supplemental results…so I wrote about a method that’s still good at finding pages that are definitely in the supplemental results…but fyi, keep in mind that today, there’s this + […]

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