Google Hides Supplemental Results Label in Google.com: Webmaster Reaction

Aug 1, 2007 • 7:05 am | comments (3) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Google Search Engine Optimization
 

Last night, Google announced that they have done away with the "supplemental results" label from the search results within Google.com.

What this means is that Google will no longer label results with a "Supplemental Results" tag in the search results. What did that look like?

Here is a screen shot I took from my post named Confusion Over Google's Supplemental Index in November 2006: google-supplemental-1106.png

That boxed in "Supplemental Results" tag is no longer go to show up.

As Danny explained in his Google Dumps The Supplemental Results Label, Google first introduced the Supplemental Index in September 2003 "to index more pages from the web but not get bogged down actually searching through those billions and billions of them unless necessary." But the thing is, Google got bogged down by SEOs and Webmasters 'bugging out' about their pages being in the supplemental index.

Typically, pages found within the supplemental index were not as important as pages not found in Google's supplemental index. By important I mean, popular in terms of PageRank and links to that page. SEOs used the supplemental index label to learn what corrective action can be taken to improve a page's popularity in Google. If a page was in the supplemental index, that page needed more links and attention.

Currently, the new way to find supplemental results in Google by using a site:www.domain.com/& no longer works for me, on the data center I am hitting. I honestly suspect Google will give us a tool in Webmaster Central to detect which pages are suffering from a low popularity score either by showing webmasters the pages that are in the supplemental index or by just labeling which pages can use a boost from some links. This was one of the items in the webmaster central tools poll Matt Cutts held, so I hope they give SEOs and Webmasters more insight into this at least through GWT.

This change from Google comes to no surprise to me and many other webmasters. In fact, last week I wrote Is Google Gearing Up To Drop The Supplemental Result Label? at Search Engine Land. I was a bit shocked to learn early this week that Google is going to go forward with this change so soon. And they did!

Webmaster & SEO Reaction We currently have two threads discussing this topic. One at DigitalPoint Forums and the other at WebmasterWorld.

As expected, the reaction is both positive and negative. On one hand, Google promised to show "more Supplemental Results by ensuring that every query is able to search the supplemental index" by this summer. So even if your pages are in the supplemental index, Google promised to give those pages more prominence in the search results.

Does that mean Google will do so? We do not know. That is the other side of the reaction towards this change. Webmasters and SEOs feel Google silenced them by simply hiding information from us. In fact, they feel that pages in the supplemental index will not only continue to always do poorly in the search results, but now they won't have a valuable tool to help fix the issues with these pages.

Honestly, I think the best move for Google is to add a Supplemental Index tool to Google Webmaster Central. This is a great compromise. Webmasters can quickly check what problems they have with their pages and implement changes. Google can also not show the supplemental index in the results and save some of a headache explaining what is it.

Forum discussion at DigitalPoint Forums and WebmasterWorld

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Comments:

Michael Martinez

08/01/2007 06:01 pm

They need to let Supplemental Results pages perform in exactly the same way as Main Web Index pages. Nothing less will be acceptable. While we had a clear indication of which pages were Supplemental in normal site queries, it didn't matter if Supplemental pages were not being fully parsed and indexed, it didn't matter that they would not rank above Main Web Index pages in search results. Webmasters at least had an idea of what could be done. Now they have no real indicator of what to do. SEOs, for example, may not be able to look at clients' Webmaster Central data to guess which pages may be Supplemental. So it is now incumbent upon Google to allow the Supplemental pages to rank competitively and to pass link anchor text. They have seriously hurt the user experience by depriving people of access to relevant content. It's time to fix the problem, Google, not hide it.

Jaan Kanellis

08/01/2007 10:59 pm

Michael can you still see them using this operator? site:www.website.com/& http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=site%3Awww.jaankanellis.com%2F%26&btnG=Google+Search

Professor Rahul

08/03/2007 10:54 am

The supplemental results tag should neccessarily be displayed. In the absence of an indicator, its quite difficult for the SEOs. Google, please show it don't hide.

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