How To Stay Out Of Google's Supplemental Index

Jun 5


Titus Hoskins

Titus Hoskins

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Find out what you need to know about Google's Supplemental Index. How many of your pages are in this index? Why it is not a good idea to be in these supplemental results? And more importantly, learn how to get your site or pages out of Google's Supplemental Index...


Copyright (c) 2007 Titus Hoskins

Google's Supplemental Index - What You Need To Know

If you run an online website or business you have probably already heard about Google's Supplemental Index. You may have even heard it being referred to as Google's Gulag,How To Stay Out Of Google's Supplemental Index Articles Google's Digital Dungeon, or the moniker that seems to have stuck: Google Hell.

Hate it or love it, webmasters are passionate about the big G. There's no argument on that point for one good reason: Google simply delivers the most search engine traffic on the web. For any webmaster with at least a few white SEO connected brain cells Google can supply 60% or more of their traffic.

Therefore, suddenly getting the majority of your pages thrown into Google's Supplemental Index can result in a correlating drop in business. A few examples of this were reported in a recent Forbes article by Andy Greenberg entitled "Condemned To Google Hell".

It recounts how two online jewelry businesses lost traffic and sales by having their pages falling into Google's Supplemental Index. They speculated on what had caused this to happen: duplicate content? buying links?

Matt Cutts, Google's main spokesperson (some say pacifier) to worried webmasters everywhere, responded in his own blog:

"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."

However, regardless of what Google maintains, being in the supplemental results is not a good thing for any webmaster or business. Just the fact it's called a supplemental index means it's not as important as the main index. This index is seen as duplicate pages, less important or less trusted by Google, thus the lower PR.

All semantics aside, webmasters should try to keep their important web pages out of this supplemental index. Why would anyone be satisfied with having their pages or website buried in dusty boxes in the backroom when they want them displayed on the Front Store Window, preferably in the #1 spot?

Lately, despite webmasters' wishes, Google seems to be placing more emphasis on the Supplemental Index and putting more pages there. One can only guess, but it may have to do with improving their SERPs - the more relevant Google's search results become, the higher quality their flagship product will achieve. Or it may just be an easier way of spidering and managing all those countless pages that exist on the web.

Regardless, you do not want your pages in this Supplemental Index unless they are really unimportant pages and these can have the 'no follow' attributes in the robots txt file. However, you still need to check this supplemental index for your own pages.

Simple Way To Check Google's Supplemental Index

You can go to Google search and type in: *** -sjpked

replacing 'yoursite' with your domain/site to see what pages are indexed in Google's Supplemental Index.

If you see any important pages there you should check your whole linking structure of your site. Are these pages linked properly? Are they orphaned? Are they well positioned in your internal site architecture? If there are obvious interior linking problems with these pages, fix them.

It is also a good idea to see what percentage of your pages are in this index.

How To Calculate Your Supplemental Index Ratio

You can get your percentage of Supplemental results by dividing the number of pages in the supplemental index by the total number of pages in the main index. *** -sjpked


This will give you a good indication of the overall health of your site. If you have too high a ratio or too many pages in the supplemental index you should fix your site's linking structure and remove duplicate pages. Make sure robots can crawl all of your pages or at least the ones you want them to crawl.

If you do find your site or too many of your pages in Google's Digital Attic, simply try to increase the PageRank of those pages. This is the main remedy supplied by Matt Cutts:

"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)."

In other words, raise your PageRank to get those pages out of the supplemental index. This has always been the basic key to getting traffic from Google. Quality content plus quality links equals quality traffic from Google.

Likewise: QC + QL = No Supplemental Index

It is always a good practice to keep on the good side of Google. No need to be paranoid, but you don't want to do anything to bring unwanted attention to your site, especially the kind of attention that get your pages thrown into Google Supplemental Index in the first place. Besides, you never know how long it will take to get your pages back out and into the main index where they truly belong. Rumor has it, that place takes forever to freeze over!