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Community Building and User Generated Content Forum

Forums and Google supplemental results
Stopping forum threads going supplemental.

 6:10 am on May 26, 2007 (gmt 0)

There are enough topics on WW about Google's supplemental results, but I haven't seen one specific to online communities.

I raise this topic because one of my content sites hardly ever has any of its regular pages in the supplemental results, but the forum (about 3 years old now) has recently started getting more and more topics relegated to the supplemental.

Now, I'm aware of the many issues around forum software and duplicate URL issues and I've pretty much dealt with most of these. Or at least I opted to not fix what wasn't broken at the time - [webmasterworld.com...]

I also wonder if Google gets to a threshold on certain subject areas. For example, if a web site has 250 topics about the same subject (something easily done on an industry specific forum site), then the article/thread had better be a seriously good - and much linked to - topic or it is going into the supplemental. If a Blue Widget site has yet another posting about "Where are the cheapest Blue Widgets", I wouldn't blame Google for burying this. It's not duplicate content by any means - more like yawn here we go again content. ;)

But, I've also noticed that even unique forum topics are increasingly being stuck in the supplemental index and I'm wondering if anyone has noticed and consistency as to why this happens, or whether there are any tactics that people are using to help prevent this?

For example, have you tried using the 'Similar Links' feature in some forum software? I've tried creating static links from elsewhere on the site (similar to the front page of WW), but I'm not sure that this has had much effect.

Any success stories, failures?



 6:59 am on May 26, 2007 (gmt 0)

I have had a similar experience in dealing with supplemental results. Now my client site is 95% supplemental free.

One thing I did is interlink all the pages of same topic with each other with the current updates as the anchor text and a small snippet of the content. This I feel regularly forces Google to crawl my site.

Second was building backlinks from similar topic websites and I got a pagerank of 4 from 0 in three months. But the supplemental issue solved after 10 months of Optimization strategy I worked on this site.

It was like in the last three months that I have seen a lot of pages come out of supplemental index. The phenomena is still interesting as I still do not understand what blocks of html content can get you out of that.


 7:01 am on May 26, 2007 (gmt 0)

To me it looks like they've lowered the bar for being in the main index for a site: search.


 5:11 pm on Jun 1, 2007 (gmt 0)

The real problem is the fact that threads may be buried as many as 100 pages deap on the equivalent of 'forumdisplay'. I believe unless Google can get to these threads easier/quicker then there is no luck.

I'd like to hear from people who are successfully battling the supplemental war with a forum.

[edited by: Nick0r at 5:11 pm (utc) on June 1, 2007]


 5:22 pm on Jun 1, 2007 (gmt 0)

Indeed, that may contribute to the issue, but it does not follow a logical path like that in my experience. I have 'high content' forum topics that are linked to from several static pages on my site that go supplemental, whereas some of those threads that are buried 100 links in with a couple of short posts are happily sitting in the main index.


 8:32 pm on Jun 2, 2007 (gmt 0)

Use an automated site map generator. Works wonders.


 3:15 am on Jun 4, 2007 (gmt 0)

Do you mean a Google xml site map, or a regular links-based site map?

Thing is, I've found that my threads are indexed just fine, it's just the supplemental issue that concerns me. The fact that even some threads with static links to them go supplemental makes me wonder if a site map will really help.


 4:11 am on Jun 4, 2007 (gmt 0)

>>>regular links-based site map

Yes. ;)


 8:14 pm on Jun 4, 2007 (gmt 0)

More inbound links is what will get you out of the supplemental index....


 2:50 am on Jun 5, 2007 (gmt 0)

Yes indeed. But it is somewhat difficult to get external sites to link to more than a few of tens of thousands of forum discussions.

That being the case, I was after some tips for internal optimisation perhaps.


 2:02 pm on Jun 5, 2007 (gmt 0)

Beefing up internal linkage is always good. Adding a "related threads" list would be one way. Manual linking to better content from other threads is good, too.


 3:02 pm on Jun 6, 2007 (gmt 0)

We use the "related articles" tactic on most of our sites. Not only is it good for SEO, but you'll get more pageviews from your readers when they have more relevant options at the bottom of the article to keep them reading.


 8:45 am on Jun 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

Here are the results of a new forum test I ran about 9 months ago.

SEO optimized forum on new domain.
5 categories
10 posts in each, all quality and original.

Everything got indexed in short order after i submitted a sitemap to google, about 5 weeks. Zero supplemental but the pages were added to Google at a rate of about 2-3 per day, not all at once.

On week 6 I added a front page link to all 10 topics in one of the categories. I also had a good friend add a static link at the bottom of his forums directly to the main index page that shows the 5 categories.

the result, front page went to PR1 on week 8, main forum index page went supplemental, all articles were in the main index but without PR.

The incoming links (about 14,000 of them) to one page likely were viewed as un-natural and sent the index supplemental BUT the front page and post pages remained out of supplemental.

I shut the site down at that point. All I wanted to know was if the link penalty went sitewide. I didn't in that test.

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