Friday, July 06, 2007

Google Hell

"Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored." ~ Aldous Huxley, English Writer, (1894-1963)
Your site is up and visitors are on the way. But you notice your indexed Google pages have the phrase - Supplemental Result - across from the link.

Uh oh... what's that?

It's called the Supplemental Index and it can be a serious problem for your online business.

Google Giveth, and Google Taketh Away...

Google created its supplemental index in order to remove superfluous pages from its search results. These pages labeled as "supplemental" are deemed lacking in viability. They are seen as unnecessary, unneeded and/or redundant to answer a search query. As such, these page only appear for organic searches when no other results are available.

AND as you can guess, this is seldom the case.

Here is Google’s official definition from their webmasters page:
Supplemental sites are part of Google’s auxiliary index. We’re able to place fewer restraints on sites that we crawl for this supplemental index than we do on sites that are crawled for our main index. For example, the number of parameters in a URL might exclude a site from being crawled for inclusion in our main index; however, it could still be crawled and added to our supplemental index.

The index in which a site is included is completely automated; there’s no way for you to select or change the index in which your site appears. Please be assured that the index in which a site is included does not affect its PageRank.
The official Google position is that the supplemental index is not a bad thing nor a punishment for your site.


The supplemental index is the death of organic search for that page... I call it Google Hell.

How do you know if you have pages in the supplemental index?

Google it. Type the following query into the Google search field. ***-sljkf”
This will list all your supplemental pages that Google has deemed not important enough for the regular organic searches.

How can you to avoid this Google Hell?

First, check your tags...

One of biggest factors and easiest fixes involves your meta tags. They need to be narrowly tailored to each page. Often when loading content for a large site, I myself, input "dummy" info in the tags. The same title, keywords and description tag for each page. The idea being that you'll come back in and change it later... when the page is actually published.

But alas... we forget, the page goes LIVE, and the tags are a duplicates.

Not good.

Pages with the same tags are not liked by the Google bot. It sees this page as redundant and thus, with nothing new here, doesn't rank the page high for organic results. It gets a supplemental ranking.

To avoid this scenario, make sure all tags are current, independent and properly descriptive for each page. Keep in mind that your tags must show the Google Bot that the page is content driven and worthy of proper organic indexing.

Next... if you sell stuff on your site and you are required to use an exact manufactures product description, yikes... that can be troublesome. The use of that same copy, over and over again, on multiple websites will not be seen as valuable.

Sounds like it would be classified as stale, worthless duplicate content and of little value, eh?

To fix that... make sure all sales pages are content rich, with proper meta tags. And for that manufactures copy? Open it in a new window, thereby keeping the stale yet legally required copy separate from the page.

Make sense?

If you are a loyal CVoD reader, you should understand the power and value of fresh content. As such, you won't run into the problem of duplicate content, which is another reason pages are sent to the supplemental results. New dynamic copy will distinguish your site and establish the validity of your pages.

Lastly, to avoid Google Hell... get links.

Fresh in bound links, are like a blood transfusion for your site. You need these incoming links for page ranking. Links cure many a problem... such as the supplemental index. Why?

Think about it... pages with links coming in tell Google that there is value on the page. Otherwise why else would you find links?

Links are not often found on dead, stale static pages. On the contrary, in bound links are on the pages with the most sought after content. And if you have them, Google will reward you.

These links are not easy to get, I know, but it's worth the trouble to try and get them. The more inbound links you can get the less likely chance you'll end in Google Hell.

Look at it this way... with all the crap that is published on the Internet each and everyday I guess Google has to put it somewhere, eh?

Just make sure you create value for your site AND that you stay out of the crap pile. CVoD.