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Google Supplemental Results

Google Supplemental Results

  • Is your web site listed in the Google Supplemental Results ?
  • Are your worried about how to Retrieve Banished Web Pages From Google’s Supplemental Index?

 Although they tend to play it down, its bad news because supplementary results are 2nd class. Over the past few days, in reviewing sites to formulate web site optimization proposals I was faced with the supplemental results problem.

The supplemental results tag has disappeared, I found the situation a bit messy: If you run the site: command and review the SERPs they simply flow one after another. But if you should jump from the 1st SERP to the 10th then you’ll get a different answer and Google (might) tell you that: How to Retreive Banished WebPages From Google's Supplemental Index

This is what happened to me, so I ran my check list to see just what is happening with this site:

  • duplicate pages
    • Not really at first sight – there is plenty of content and all original. There are a few re-prints of articles taken from national press, but I’m not sure they are available online in exactly the same format, and are only a handful
  • identical title tags and identical description meta tags
    • No. Meta tags and TITLES are unique, they are not ideal, and could use some improvement, but it’s not the typical template situation where titles and meta tags repeat themselves hundreds of times throughout the web site
  • not enough indexable content
    • No, there is plenty of content
  • too many parameters in the URL
    • Again the URLs are very search engine friendly, although dynamic, with only ONE parameter in the URL so definitely not a problem
  • the pages are not linked well enough and do not allow regular crawling
    • Well again I really couldn’t say this is true either: it is a big web site with a certain hierarchy, but the pages are all easily reachable within 3 clicks from the home page – normally that’s ok based on my experience (Now I was getting a nervous in reaching the end of my check list with no distinct reason for the pages being listed as supplemental results)
  • the page has no incoming links but remains indexed because it used to have links
    • nope.

I went back to the 1st bullet of my list and took a closer look at the structure of the pages: very long left and right navigation menus with central content. A closer look at the page architecture pushed me to run a quick check on a typical page to understand the weight of actual content compared to the overall code of the page. This is an easy and practical analysis you can run on your web site to estimate the weight of your content versus the page in it’s entirety:

  • Save the HTML code of a typical web page
  • Save the various portions of the page in different files:
    • HEAD
    • RIGHT MENU
    • CENTRAL BODY
    • LEFT MENU
    • FOOTER
  • Weigh each area of the page over the page as a whole:
    • I broke down the page into the different areas
      Page breakdown to identify duplicate content problems: list of files and dimensions a page can be broken down into

The body of the page is 40% of the entire page – that means 60% repeats itself page after page and most likely triggers the supplemental results.

A way out is to reduce the amount of identical content from page to page. In this specific case there were a number of navigational elements off theme and not relevant to the on page topic as well.

My advice was to remove as many irrelevant entries as possible: A side benefit is to simplify navigation and make the site more usable from the user standpoint. If your web site is having supplemental results problems run the check list and make sure your real content is the majority of your web pages content.

  • What’s your experience with supplemental results ?
  • How did you solve the duplicate content problem ?

5 Replies

  1. I got to deal with the supplemental content on almost every of my websites. What I noticed is the fact that Google throws those subpages our from their listings that are too short and / or too similar to any other page.

  2. sarah

    This is interesting. My site struggles with supplemental hell, I never thought about looking at the theme I’m using.

    I hope you are right and this fixes my problem