More Sites Hitting Google's Supplemental Index?

It seems that more Web sites are ending up with pages in Google's supplemental index lately. Both Aaron Wall and Andy Hagans have posted tips to get a site out of the "Siberian work camp for Web pages," as Hagans calls it.

Of course, supplemental results are not the worst thing in the world, as Matt Cutts explained in a January infrastructure status report:

As a reminder, supplemental results aren't something to be afraid of; I've got pages from my site in the supplemental results, for example. A complete software rewrite of the infrastructure for supplemental results launched in Summer o' 2005, and the supplemental results continue to get fresher. Having urls in the supplemental results doesn't mean that you have some sort of penalty at all; the main determinant of whether a url is in our main web index or in the supplemental index is PageRank.

If you used to have pages in our main web index and now they're in the supplemental results, a good hypothesis is that we might not be counting links to your pages with the same weight as we have in the past. The approach I'd recommend in that case is to use solid white-hat SEO to get high-quality links (e.g. editorially given by other sites on the basis of merit).

I think going forward, you'll continue to see the supplemental results get even fresher, and website owners may see more traffic from their supplemental results pages.

However, if you've got sites in the supplemental results, and would rather they not be there, Hagans and Wall share some tactics to get them out.

Hagans suggests that, since Google is "interested in trusted sites that are after a whitehat, long term commitment," site owners need to show that they fit that category:

  • Give each page a unique title.
  • Give each page a unique META DESCRIPTION.
  • Make sure each page has a good amount of unique content.
  • Get some more trusted links.
  • Get some links to internal pages.

Wall suggests that the increasing banishments are the result of Google tightening down on duplicate content filters and tweaking the effect that PageRank scores have in indexing a page.

Focusing on blogs, Wall suggests:

  • Get Real Links
  • Make Longer Posts
  • Reduce Sitewide Repetitive Features
  • Don't Link at Garbage

For commercial sites, Wall suggests also adding an editorial element to the site, and enabling customer feedback and reviews to add fresh content.

About the author

Kevin Newcomb joined ClickZ in August 2004, covering search marketing and other online marketing topics. He has been reporting on web-based businesses since 2000.

Before the bubble burst, Kevin was a marketing manager for an online computer reseller, handling copywriting, e-mail marketing, search marketing and running the affiliate program.

With a combination of real-world marketing experience and years of business journalism, Kevin brings to ClickZ a unique ability to deliver news and training materials that help online marketers do their jobs better.