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Google Supplemental Results Are Now Invisible
Wednesday, August 01, 2007
Remember when you were a kid and always wondered what it would be like to be invisible? How cool it would be to walk around and nobody would know that you would be standing right next to them? Well obviously the folks at Google were wondering the same thing as they have removed the supplemental index "title" from the results listings. The supplemental results "tag" will now be invisible to the user.

This doesn't mean that the supplemental index is gone, it just means that you won't know if your pages are in the supplemental index or not. Traditionally there were a couple of key factors that determined if your page(s) may have been included in the supplemental index:
  • Low PR pages
  • Older pages that have not been updated in quite some time
  • Pages that have extremely complex URLs
Reports out of Google suggest that the reasoning for this move is that the gap between Google's main index and supplemental index is narrowing and that the goal is to provide the most relevant results available.

According to Google:
The changes we make must focus on improving the search experience for our users. Since 2006, we've completely overhauled the system that crawls and indexes supplemental results. The current system provides deeper and more continuous indexing. Additionally, we are indexing URLs with more parameters and are continuing to place fewer restrictions on the sites we crawl. As a result, Supplemental Results are fresher and more comprehensive than ever. We're also working towards showing more Supplemental Results by ensuring that every query is able to search the supplemental index, and expect to roll this out over the course of the summer.
Removing the "supplemental results" moniker from the actual search results makes it difficult to tell which pages are in the main index vs. which pages are not. Or does it? I can see Google possibly adding a feature to their Webmaster Tools product to provide webmasters with some indication of which pages are in the main index and which other ones are in the secondary index (ie the supplemental index). Or if what Google speaks is true, maybe being in the supplemental index is not such a bad thing. When it comes to your site's content, the key is to provide content that is fresh, informative and somewhat unique. From here Google and the other engines for that matter will determine the relevancy of the content and rank accordingly.

One thing to keep in mind is the emergence of Universal Search and Personalization. So long as your content is the most relevant for a given query, you really shouldn't worry about which index you are found in. As long as Google can crawl and index your content you should be fine.

More On Supplemental Results

Supplemental Goes Mainstream - July 31, 2007
Matt Cutts on Google's Index - Jan. 2007
Matt Cutts on Supplemental Results - July 2006
Google Supplemental Results Got You Down? - Feb, 2007
My Site in the Google Index - Google Webmaster Help

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posted by Jody @ Wednesday, August 01, 2007  
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