Search engine optimization for small and very small businesses.

Google’s Latest Update Causes Headaches

On the popular WebmasterWorld forum, many webmasters have reported that all of their web pages except for their index page have been moved to Google’s supplemental index.

What are supplemental results?

Supplemental results in Google are from an alternate index. Google usually only uses this index if they can’t find sufficiently relevant results in their normal index, so the supplemental index is only used for very obscure queries.

Google augments results for difficult queries by searching a supplemental collection of web pages. Results from this index are marked in green as “Supplemental.”

Being in the supplemental index generally means that your web pages won’t be included in the result pages for normal queries anymore. Uh oh!

How can you check if your web pages have gone supplemental?

Perform a Google search for site:mysite.com (replace mysite.com with your own domain name). If you see “supplemental result” next to the snippet then your web pages are supplemental. If soeone searches on your keywords then, they may not find your listing unless they check the supplemental results. For a breakdown of where they would see that (as well as what allt he other stuff in Google resulrts means, see this explanatory page.

What can you do if your web site is affected?

In the WebmasterWorld forums, a Google employee who posts under the name Googleguy asked webmasters to send their feedback to Google:

“I’m happy to ask someone to check this out. Please send an email to sesnyc06@gmail.com with specific domains and the keyword ‘gonesupplemental’.

I have a theory about this, which I’m asking the crawl/index guys to check out, but I’ll need 5-10 specific examples to check if my theory holds. If my guess is right, I’ll try to get the crawl/index folks to get things back to the previous behavior.”

You shouldn’t worry too much if your web site has been moved to Google’s supplemental index. As soon as Google has rebuilt the new index, your web pages should be back in Google’s main results.

If your web pages are still in the supplemental results in a week or two, contact Google at the email address mentioned above.

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