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.