Google’s Supplemental Results – SEO Tip Week 29
Google is indexing more pages now then ever before, but that’s not always a good thing. Sometimes these pages get sent to the supplemental index instead of the main index. It’s perfectly normal for most sites to have some pages in the supplemental index, but if your main pages (and especially your home page) get sent to the supplemental index you’ll likely not see much traffic from Google any more.
My site’s listed in the supplemental results, what does that mean?
As Google states, “Supplemental sites are part of Google’s auxiliary index.” Google will always show results from their main index before showing results from the supplemental index. This means that supplemental pages will almost never show up for searches, and will only show up for super specialized searches if few or no results come from the main index. With so many blogs and tag pages out there, even crazy many-word searches will bring back at least a few non-supplemental results.
How did my site get in the supplemental index?
One way pages end up in the supplemental index instead of the main index is a lack of PageRank (PR). This could be because you orphaned the page (no links pointing to it), the page lies too many clicks away from your home page, or your home page itself has a very low PR. If this is the case, you should work on your link building to those important pages of your site and build up their PageRank.
The other way your pages end up in the supplemental index is by having duplicate content on your page. This could be because you used the same manufacturer written product description that dozens of other sites use, you copied content from another website, or your pages have very little content and too much template which is duplicated on all pages. If this is the case, try writing unique content or changing your template so it doesn’t have the same elements on every page.
I changed my pages, what’s next?
Now that you’ve fixed your pages, it can be a long and hard process for getting them out of the supplemental index because the supplemental spider doesn’t come along very often. You should create or edit your Google sitemap XML file and hope that will be enough. If that doesn’t work, try changing the name (URL) of those pages and delete the old file.
Feel free to add your own observations about supplemental results here, we’d love to hear your stories.