Posted August 1, 2007 9:24 am by with 15 comments

Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Google+Share on FacebookBuffer this page

Ever since SMX, it seemed inevitable that Google would drop the Supplemental Index moniker – Matt Cutts hinted that the tag should go away.

Today we learn that Google is indeed dropping the “Supplemental Results” tag from those search results that don’t quite have enough juice to make the main Google index. The reason is that Google’s supplemental index is a lot more efficient than it used to be and Google feels that it’s almost as good as the main index.

The distinction between the main and the supplemental index is therefore continuing to narrow. Given all the progress that we’ve been able to make so far, and thinking ahead to future improvements, we’ve decided to stop labeling these URLs as “Supplemental Results.”

But, did the Supplemental Index go away? Nope!

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…Of course, you will continue to benefit from Google’s supplemental index being deeper and fresher.

So there you go. Your pages are still in the Supplemental Index, now you just don’t know which ones. 😉

  • Fun times! I guess supplementals will get thrown into Google Webmaster Console like others tools so that one cannot look at competitors to see where their site stands in the supplemental results.

    It seems like if Google wants a better index, then giving webmasters access to site pages that might have problems getting indexed is the answer. It’s the “your tell me what’s wrong and I’ll fix it” kind of relationship.

    Either way, if you’re in supplemental, you’re not ranking except for the occasional search phrase that no one would think of ranking for ;-\

  • @Brian – isn’t amazing how cautious Google is with telling us anything that might actually help us, help them? I’d like to see supplemental reporting added to Google Webmaster.

  • I read yesterday that this query will still bring up your supplemental results:


    When I checked it again after reading this post I noticed that it still pulls the same number of results and pages it did yesterday, but the results no longer say Supplemental.

    I guess maybe they corrected that query too?

  • …but 2 tricks about supplemental results:
    http://www.domain/* (for normal index) and http://www.domain/& (for supplemental) are working, at least i see almost the same numbers as before.

  • Thanks SEOlla and Drew. I saw both of those yesterday afternoon and used them briefly. Both worked partially, but it seems they are not saying “supplemental” now. I suppose from this point, and until supplemental results get added to the Webmaster’s Console (hopefully), one could draw some logical guesses.

    All I have to say is – Thank you Google for helping us make your search index better! NOT. Dang Indian givers.

  • it’s that really?

  • I hope they at least add the info about supplemental pages to Webmaster Central. In spite of what Matt Cutts wants to say about how well pages in the supplemental index rank, the same page will rank better in the main index.

    It is important for webmasters to know and it can reveal real problems you’re having with your site.

  • Yet another exhibit in the Why I Hate Google museum. I mean for crying out loud, what harm could be done by telling us which pages are in the supplemental index and which aren’t? Google’s the biggest hypocrite there is. They suck up all this user data, and site info, and give out nothing. Good thing they do no evil…

  • I didn’t want to have to setup webmastercentral on my corporate account, but if they move supp indexed pages into their I guess I will have to.

  • What people need to focus on is determining whether Google will let the Supplemental pages perform equally as well as the Main Web Index pages.

    The biggest problem with Supplemental pages for the past year is that they have not (until recently) been fully parsed and indexed — hence they had no chance to appear in search results for most of the terms to which they are relevant.

    And while they may now be getting parsed and indexed more completely, if Google doesn’t let them compete fairly with Main Web Index pages then it needs to restore the label.

  • That’s a good point Michael. If the supplemental pages were competing fairly this becomes a non-issue. From what I see at the moment they aren’t competing fairly, though in all fairness we should allow the time for fair competition.

    Of course if Google refuses to show us which pages are supplemental we’ll never know how equitable things are and if pages in the main and supplemental index are given the same consideration from Google why have the supplemental index in the first place.

  • @Michael: Yea Danny was talking about that over at SE land today. Only time will tell.

  • “The reason is that Google’s supplemental index is a lot more efficient than it used to be and Google feels that it’s almost as good as the main index.

    That’s happened because the human race in general doesn’t write relevant content! 🙂

  • Pingback: Weekly Links << Vandelay Website Design()

  • Pingback: Inventive Design | Mitä saatoit menettää loman aikana()