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Are Google supplemental results gone?
SERPs do not include supplemental results tag anymore

 6:12 pm on Mar 25, 2005 (gmt 0)

Today I searched for one of my favorite keyword sets. There are normally about 500 listings in the SERPs with 50% supplemental results. This time the amount of listings was the same as previous, but no entry was tagged "suplemental" anymore.

I also discovered that the order of the SERPs completely changed. Some supplemental results are now present within the first 25 of the SERPs.

Just a glitch, or is something serious going on?



 6:38 pm on Mar 25, 2005 (gmt 0)

I still see plenty of supplementals. Perhaps the order changed as you suspect, or perhaps those previously supplemental URLs were crawled.


 6:42 pm on Mar 25, 2005 (gmt 0)

Every few weeks I see a very reduced SERP for something that I monitor. All the Supplemental Results are missing.

I originally thought that perhaps one datacentre has only normal results, as a test, but having done searches directly on all of the Google IPs that I have ever seen published I never saw this effect there.

Next, I assumed that maybe one machine in a cluster has a reduced index due to some bug or glitch. That is possible; I don't see the effect very often.

However, I have noticed that every time the supplemental results are missing then that is when the reported search time is more than 0.6 seconds (often 0.8 or 0.9 seconds). If the supplemental results are present then the search time was always less than 0.5 seconds (often only 0.1 or 0.2 seconds). So, I think that it might simply be that the "SERPs agent" gets some results from the normal index, then tries to get more results from the supplemental index. It sees a delay in the response, waits a further fraction of a second, and if no response arrives in that time, then it proceeds to serve results only from the normal index.

Look at the time taken to deliver the results. See if you get the same sort of lag.

At the moment I see lots of supplemental results; in fact a load of pages that were removed using the Google urlcontroller last week have all been added back in to the index in the last hour. Those pages have been 404 for over 4 months, and the domain expired 9 weeks ago.


 9:03 pm on Mar 25, 2005 (gmt 0)

The amount of entries in the listing is the same as always, a little bit more than 500, so the index is complete. Search time varies between 0.12 and 0.16 seconds for the first SERP with 100 entries.

The strange thing is that I see search results that were previously burried deep in the supplemental results that are now near the top without the supplemental tag. I am monitoring this keyword combination almost daily and I know the usual changes. Normally some pages bubble upwards, others go down. This is the first time I see a total reorder of the results and no pages marked as supplemental results.

The results are visible on both www.google.nl and www.google.com, but maybe these two default to the same datacenter in my geographic location. I will test some DC's directly to see their results.


 9:17 pm on Mar 25, 2005 (gmt 0)

I did a test on data centers for my keywords. I see two type of SERPs. Most data centers have the old SERPs where the first 50% is the entries are from the normal index and the second 50% from the supplemental index.

On 5 data centers the results of the normal and supplemental index have been mixed. Three of these DC's do not show the words "supplemental result" anymore, on the other two DC's the tag is still in use.

Tag "supplemental" is gone, all entries reordered

Tag "supplemental" is present, all entries reordered

SERPs as usual
all other DC's


 10:18 pm on Mar 25, 2005 (gmt 0)

Another for the "can this get any dumber" column...

On and the others the Supplemental tag is off, the pages show a new cache... but the results STILL think words that have deleted off these pages nine months ago.

In other words, nothing has changed except the Supplemetal tag is gone.

To try and be more clear... I have a search bookmarked that normally shows over 3000 supplemental results. the search deals with unique words on a specific domain, and these words were removed from this domain last summer. Before today, all the listings said supplemental even though the caches in many cases were up to date (crawled this week). So, as has been mentioned elsewhere, there is some double-secret-probation super-master cache somewhere that causes these supplemental results to show for a search when they should not.


 10:35 pm on Mar 25, 2005 (gmt 0)

Another for the "can this get any dumber" column...

Thank you, I always love subtile remarks ;)

On and the others the Supplemental tag is off, the pages show a new cache... but the results STILL think words that have deleted off these pages nine months ago.

I have to disagree with you. For the supplemental results I have checked the caches. most af them are not updated and many months old. Most pages didn't change between the moment of the last cache and the current page content, so removal of keywords in this period can not have any effect on this in the way you mentioned.

Sorry, but the only way to make it more clear is to post here the keywords used in my search query, but I think it is against the TOS as it can be seen as a way to promote personal sites.


 10:40 pm on Mar 25, 2005 (gmt 0)

Not sure what you are disagreeing with.

Obviously not all supplementals are the same. Some are existing pages, some are long deleted pages, some are miscrawled pages lacking a trailing slash, etc etc.


 11:01 pm on Mar 25, 2005 (gmt 0)

Be aware that a URL can be a normal result for some search terms and can be a Supplemental Result for other search terms - usually search terms that no longer appear on the real live page, nor in the cache of the page. There is usually only one version of the cache at any one time.

I do often see the cache revert to one from a week ago briefly just before it updates to a more recent one. The snippet for a supplemental result is also never updated, and often does not reflect what is in the cache for that page.

I have seen these effects many times for at least the last year. They are repeatable.


Earlier tonight I said that some old pages had just reappeared back in the SERPs even though they had been removed using the Google urlcontroller last week. They only appeared for a few hours and are now gone again, along with some other old results that we were going to ask for removal if they didn't go away on their own by the end of the month.


 11:02 pm on Mar 25, 2005 (gmt 0)

Not sure what you are disagreeing with.

I was disagreeing that my observations could be caused by out of sync caches or SERPs based on keywords that were deleted earlier from the pages. Most pages didn't change since the last cache date and although the cache is old, the cache content is still the same as the current page content. Sorry I didn't make that clearer.

Most of the supplementals I am talking about are existing pages that became supplemental because of duplicate content and 302 hijacking. There are also scraper pages among them and pages swimming because of no incomming links. Total of about 100 domains, mostly not owned by me.

These pages now returned to a normal state and are ordered between the normal listings in the SERPs, not somewhere at the end.


 12:45 am on Mar 26, 2005 (gmt 0)

Today, my "2 page site" has been recached with a date/timestamp around March 25th 04:00 UTC. Both pages were previously cached about 24 hours earlier. One page has not had a fresh tag for several days. The other page was given a March 23 Fresh tag yesterday, and still has it now even though the cache date changed up one day. The content of the pages themselves has not been changed for several weeks. I do sometimes see the Fresh date stick like this even when the cache date changes, but this usually corrects itself a few hours later.

The Fresh dates are likely stored separate from the cache information and updated on a different cycle. For pages cached between 00:00 and 06:00 UTC the Fresh date "appears" to lag by a day. This is simply because the cache date/time is stated in UTC and the Fresh Date is in a US Time Zone, some 6 hours behind (it might be 7 hours actually).


 3:11 am on Mar 26, 2005 (gmt 0)

lammert, be sure to read message 9. Again, there are several different varieties of supplementals.


 6:17 pm on Mar 27, 2005 (gmt 0)

I have many, many, many supplemental pages. They were all cached as Dec 1969 until about a month ago when that date changed to Sept 2004 - Still 6 mos behind the times. These pages are not what you would call duplicate content and every one of them has a number of incoming links. Site over 2 years old.

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