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Supplemental Pages: Parsing Problems and/or Styles Coding Issues?

 1:09 pm on Jul 17, 2006 (gmt 0)

I've just checked what's listed at Google for a site, and out of 31 pages currently in the index, 12 are in the Supplemental Index, all with some common factors. Each and every one of those pages has extra words appended at the end of the title as shown in the Google SERPs that were NOT put into the title on the page and don't appear there when looking at the actual page or the source code.

The words added to the title shown in the SERPs are from body of the page itself, primarily from the left navigation, though not all. Some of the words added to the title are "Home" - meaning the homepage link at the top of the left navigation, and a word or two in addition, and some have "Widget Stuff" or something similar, which would be from the page <h1> Heading or text in the first paragraph.

At first I thought it was a serious error in the code in the head section causing it, but it seems that there are other pages on the site done exactly the same way that are not in the Supplemental Index and there was no such error shown when validating the pages.

Common factors different in this group of pages, some of which is different from the rest of the site that's unaffected:

--No Doctype, which shows up when the page is run through the W3C Validator. But neither do "normal" unaffected pages on that site have it.

--Instead of linked stylesheets, the affected pages have the <style> designations in the head section of the pages. All of the ones in the Supplemental Index have the styles done that way. The pages on the site that are indexed and not Supplemental have linked stylesheets

So either it's a parsing issue, or there's something wrong with how the code is in the head section - except that it does not show that there is using W3C validation, so I don't know for sure.

Is there anyone else experiencing Supplemental pages that have styles in the head section rather than using linked stylesheets?

And can someone please run by some link: queries to see if you're seeing anything like this with your page titles having extra words appended with Supplemental pages?



 4:17 pm on Jul 17, 2006 (gmt 0)

How are you finding those pages?

Do those pages appear as normal results when you use different keywords in the search, or when you do a site:domain.com or a site:www.domain.com search?

Be aware that site:www.domain.com -inurl:www always shows www supplemental results, even though it should show nothing at all (show all www pages that are not www pages).

[edited by: jatar_k at 6:38 pm (utc) on July 17, 2006]


 4:30 pm on Jul 17, 2006 (gmt 0)

I have one site that is completly w3c compliant, no supplemetal pages. People overlook w3c compliance and brush it off all the time. If you do research on w3c compliant sites, you will see very few supplemental results for the sites, very good page rank and very good serps.

People who fail to validate miss things such as unclosed head or href tags. If you do not have the right doctype, you can not fully validate the page.

In my case, the time was wisely invested because simply becoming w3c compliant boosted me to the top of the serps.

Sometimes the smallest mistake made will cause googlebot not to capture the content on the page.


 4:31 pm on Jul 17, 2006 (gmt 0)

My site I validated did at one time have supplemental results, once I made them compliant they were no longer supplemental...


 4:49 pm on Jul 17, 2006 (gmt 0)

I have a site that only the index page is NOT supplemental and ALL pages validate.


 9:26 pm on Jul 17, 2006 (gmt 0)

I am seeing the same thing with my site. I have pages in the supplemental index with the title plus either some text from the page or with the title from my homepage appended...and I am not using any kind of style sheets


 9:34 pm on Jul 17, 2006 (gmt 0)

I am in the same boat as Marcia and Proboscis. Actually the pages that are supplemental and not, there is absolutely no difference in design (I use no style sheet or anything funky - just plain FrontPage template). I have been wondering the reason for this myself and my hypothesis is that it is a Google error rather than mine - so it is best to do nothing and hopefully Google will fix the error (it is not happening for any other search engines either).


 11:03 pm on Jul 17, 2006 (gmt 0)

But has anyone seen anything strange with the page titles, like I did? Or anything else strange with titles or snippets?

Supplemental doesn't bother me in general, but those peculiarities with the page titles have me really wondering, to the point where I'm wondering if coding problems can be responsible for some people's pages going Supplemental.

[edited by: Marcia at 11:05 pm (utc) on July 17, 2006]


 12:06 am on Jul 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

Previous discussions:




 8:53 am on Jul 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

"But has anyone seen anything strange with the page titles, like I did?"

Yes, I have the same problem with one of my sites.
Snippet title is showing as the Title tag, followed by HOME, followed by first few words from top of the page.

Just Guessing

 10:56 am on Jul 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

Yes I have a site with some supplemental pages with exactly the same problem with the snippet title - the first few words from the body are appended to the title.

The page I have looked at does have a Doctype (HTML 2.0).

The page does not use a <style> section in the header.

The page does not validate at W3C - one error is in the BODY statement (attribute bgcolor is unsupported, etc,etc), which may be relevant.

Having said that, other pages which are not supplemental, and whose snippet title display correctly, also use the same template and fail W3C validation in the same way.

I have not been keeping an eye on this site but I suspect the pages went supplemental because of a lack of IBLs. The problem may be in Google's processes that retrieve SERPS from the supplemental index, and not in the processes that put them there.


 12:18 pm on Jul 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

Marcia wrote:

"But has anyone seen anything strange with the page titles, like I did?"

Yes, now that you mention it, most of my pages have been stuck in Google's 2005-era Supplemental index since mid-April. And shorter titles do have navigation bar text appended in results for site:www.mysite.com.

It could be just another Google programming inelegance. Then again, it could be a guidepost toward the fix that seems to be eluding them for the last three months.

In either case, nice catch, Marcia.


 1:14 pm on Jul 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

I've seen a couple of those for 1 site I'm working on as well.

The pages I caught do have a doctype and all validate as 4.01 html strict according to the w3c tester.

The style sheets are linked, none directly in the head.

The similarity I saw was that those pages had less content and short titles. I'm not convinced that's the problem either though. Most of the titles are short and to the point and quite a few of the pages have rather a small amount of text.

I keep meaning to take a closer look, if I find anything I'll post again.


 2:19 pm on Jul 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

What I find, as I've heard others say, is that Google is attaching what it would normally attach to the SERP snippet from the page to the title. I'm betting that if your SERP snippet is clean, then so is your title. For example:

TITLE: "BLue Widgets on July 17"
META Desc: "About blue widgets on Jul 17" <- short meta description invites Google to dig into the page for more text to snippetize.

BODY: home / gallery / videos / blog...

Normal SERP:

TITLE "Blue Widgets on July 17"
Desc: "About blue widgets on Jul 17...home. gallery. videos. blog..."

Corrupt SERP:

TITLE: "Blue Widgets on July 17 home. gallery. videos..."
Desc: "About blue widgets on Jul 17...home. gallery. videos. blog..."

This should work (anyone see a counter example?)

TITLE: "BLue Widgets on July 17"
META Desc: "About blue widgets on Jul 17 as I was surfing WebmasterWorld and found this thread about Google goofing up again."

BODY: home / gallery / videos / blog...

Then again, I noticed Google's been tweaking their snippetization process and they may have just temporarily crawled pages with a bugged spider.


 2:33 pm on Jul 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

This first appeared on June 18, and a whole bunch of my sites went supplemental as a result of it. I believe that same day, Google (via some blog or another) said it was something called a "bad data push". Most of the sites were cleared up within ten days to two weeks, and back in the SERPS without supplementals. Last week I noticed I still had two and posted it here. Since then, one of the sites has cleared up and all its pages come out of supplemental - I'm just waiting on the one site now.

So yes, it's a Google problem, and I don't think there's anything you can do to "fix" it - you just have to wait for them to get your data cleaned up - maybe it's when you get re-spidered.


 8:52 pm on Jul 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

I had not noticed this until after reading this thread and am running across a few instances as I do my general searching today. The handful that I've spotted seem to have had the first or first couple of words in the body concatenaded to the tittle. All have been supplemental results.

Just Guessing

 1:34 pm on Jul 19, 2006 (gmt 0)

This problem seems to be fixed today for the pages I looked at yesterday. Pages are still supplemental, but titles now display correctly in SERPS. Still old cache dates, so it doesn't look like they have been re-crawled.


 5:54 pm on Jul 19, 2006 (gmt 0)

Make sure that you look at several different datacentres. My experience that this was only showing on a selected few datacentres last week; with Google trying 3 or 4 different experiments with titles and descriptions recently.


 11:56 pm on Jul 19, 2006 (gmt 0)

I agree with JustGuessing - it appears that Google has fixed this problem. My website is now pulling the write description code and displaying it correctly though the page is still supplemental. Looks like a work-in-progress.


 2:03 am on Jul 20, 2006 (gmt 0)

This sound like Google is picking up the title and then the words in left Nav links. I started designing my sites (with tables) with an empty table cell in upper left a couple years ago so it forces the search engines to pick up the larger content cell first, which eliminates this problem. However since I've switched over to CSS and no tables I'm wondering if it will occur all over again.


 3:15 am on Jul 20, 2006 (gmt 0)

One of my sites had title issues similar to what Marcia described. I've been noticing improvements over the last few days and couldn't begin to guess why they are being fixed now.


 4:54 am on Jul 20, 2006 (gmt 0)

I also have some screwy titles and not sure why. Depending on what datacenter I go check I can usually find then on one or two. I just went and looked and found them on several, wonder if something is up?


 3:40 pm on Jul 20, 2006 (gmt 0)

What I have noticed with Supplemental pages is that Google is using the titles of the old cached pages. Is anyone seeing this? I havent read that anyone has.


 3:53 pm on Jul 20, 2006 (gmt 0)

We had a site that had a bad case of the 'shingles'. We sorted that out but the site was still crawled and indexed so we put robots txt in and pages are still supplmental.

Should we remove robots txt?

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