The Easiest Way To Pull Yourself Out Of Supplemental Results Hell?

For those that don’t know, “supplemental results” are the bane of search engine optimization specialists.

Here is a great explanation of supplemental results from Rockyfied

Google Supplemental Results: Google supplemental results take pages on your site that have been indexed and put them into a sub database in Google. Supplemental results do not rank well but rather Google uses its supplemental DB to populate its results when they don’t have enough results to show in a given query. This means pages on your site in Google’s supplemental DB will not help you in the serps.

Something that isn’t often talked about, is that sometimes what Google report as the number of cached pages, and supplemental results isn’t actually correct.

In some cases the numbers reported are totally and utterly wrong.

Case in point, recently this blog was reporting 1 page cached, and 3 in supplemental.

Damn, I must be a real bad boy to have non of my pages in Google’s index… or not.

March 2007 Stats From Google Analytics

March Stats for Google Analytics

So 45% of my traffic in March 2007 came from Google Organic Search, with the whole site listed as not even being cached for some of the time, and for the remainder, most of the pages were showing as being supplemental.

Believe Your Own Stats

With that much search traffic coming in, I wasn’t worried about having some kind of penalty. Some of the terms I was ranking for I was genuinely shocked, and I was out-performing older more established blogs and websites for the same terms, with content published around the same time.

Some supplemental results are however possibly justified, and to be honest, if some of my pages slipped back into supplemental I wouldn’t be surprised.

I should also point out that I don’t get a huge amount of traffic from social news and bookmarking sites, although that is increasing.

Suddenly My Whole Site Is In The Index

Yep, I was shocked, and a little mystified how my whole site was suddenly in Google’s index. Over 4000 pages, and only 3 are supplemental.

Here is a nice screenshot from Aaron Wall’s SEO Extension for Firefox.

SEO extension for Firefox

Here is a screenshot directly from Google SERPs

Google Search Results

How Did I Get All My Pages Indexed &
Pulled Out Of Supplemental Hell?

A few days ago, in response to Matt Cutts providing the ability for webmasters to snitch on their competitors report unethical paid links, I wrote a long post detailing, in my opinion, why Google penalising paid links was not providing a level playing field, and also questioning why everything like this is always announced on Matts blog, with the protection of a disclaimer.

At the end of that post, I mentioned the unthinkable, outrageous notion of submitting my own content as webspam, because I have written paid reviews, and am quite happy to give them to Google to scrutiny.

  • By highlighting a website, maybe that also highlighted bugs in how supplemental results were being reported
  • It would be difficult using a website that was being reported as almost 100% supplemental for evaluating new algorithms

The interesting thing was that when my site first appeared to be 100% out of supplemental, if you did a search for English pages, only 6 pages were out of supplemental. A couple of days later, the site is out of supplemental for English pages as well.

So if you have a legitimate website, and it is having problems with supplemental results, why not declare a link that earned you a bottle of wine for Christmas, or declare that you have a paid subscription to a business directory, trade association or a paid listing in Yahoo. If you feel really daring, grab yourself a paid review from one of the many services, and write a 2 or 3000 word review full of quality information, but with links to the site in question.

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  1. says


    Thanks for pointing out the Aaron Wall’s tool. I looking at your website in the tool as I write this and shows:
    Cached: 2
    Supplemental: 6

    Is there some tick to use it properly?

    • says

      That seems like the old results and what was showing on the searches for purely English pages up until a short while ago.

      It will always vary depending on which data center you are pulling information from.

      • says

        I thought that may have been the case. Also when I look up my own site. It tells me that the site is listed in domoz, which not correct I checked manually ad my site is not in domoz yet (if it ever gets there). Nice little tool though. I off to sleep, I going to write an update about “technorati race” tomorrow… boy you can do all sorts of tricks with OPML files. Thanks for that tip as well.

  2. says

    you had me up until the last paragraph… maybe it’s bc i’m super tired… anyway, could you please explain? i won’t rest easy until i fully understand your argument :) are you referring to your submission?
    i wrote about matt cutts’ announcement too. it just doesn’t sit well with me. how can anyone determine link intent? i can’t see how it’s possible, at least, not across the board. and not coming from your competitors…

    • says

      Traffic is relative to what keywords and subjects you target, and what audience.

      The content I write doesn’t target the same people as other blogs in a similar niche, and I do have higher traffic blogs that I don’t even have to write any new content for.

      Baring that in mind, if I discount traffic from social media sites totally, I get between 400 and 3000 unique visitors per day, depending on what I write and who links to me.
      Typically it is in the 800 to 1000 mark.

      I should also note those are figures as would be counted by MyBlogLog or Google Analytics, and not as some people quote from AWStats which always gives much higher figures.

      I suppose another useful indicator is bandwidth, which should approach 25GB this month – note I use a lot of pictures, but no audo or video.

        • says

          I don’t think most of my pages were in supplemental, they were just being displayed that way.
          Earlier today I check, and again it was something like 3 in the index, 6 supplemental. Now all but a few pages are indexed. That is a data centre thing.

          Search traffic always depends on what I write about, and the amount of searches being performed, thus no real difference that I can pinpoint just yet.

        • says

          I think Aaron’s widget may be due to an update. As with many other widgets I do not see it reporting incoming links from MSN. MSN itself does not show any results for

        • says

          It gets updated fairly frequently

          One of the really useful features is to switch it on, turn on some options to display in SERPS, and then try a Google search, and have all the data get filled in. Don’t use that too often, but it fills in all the blanks very quickly and is a real time saver.

        • says

          Yes I have tried that feature. For the most part I do have it off though.

          Any idea why MSN is not reporting incoming links?

  3. Michael says

    Hello Everyone:

    My name is Michael. First off, thanks for the article. Good stuff.

    Needless to say, I am at wits end. My website is about natural dog food and has been in supplemental results since the get go. I’ve seen several different point of view on this, but not sure which direction to take. I have tried to build a whitehat website, using mostly original content, and trying to get links the old fashioned way…to earn them.

    Any advice is greatly appreciated.