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Is the Supplemental Index taking over?

Supplemental index growing far faster than normal index



9:29 pm on Dec 7, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

It has become apparent that Google's way of punishing sites is to put them in the supplemental index.

That's all fine and good... if you want to find thousands of pages of crap when searching for obscure topics.

The problem with the supplemental index is that quality sites are disappearing into it, and they are being mixed in with an endless amount of filth...spam...whatever you refer to it as. The ratio of spammy pages in the supplemental index compared to the number of good pages has to be 100:1 or greater, or so it seems when searching through Google.

So with an ever growing number of sites completely disappearing from the regular index and finding themselves lost in the mass of unranked supplemental pages one would think that Google's result quality should be suffering.

My question: Is the supplemental index out of control? It seems to be sucking up things for little/no reason at all.

The fact of the matter is - once you go supplemental, it's like rowing uphill in a canoe against the current... as it seems that it takes MONTHS, or even a YEAR or LONGER to get pages back.. and that is if they ever come back.

I don't understand how the search engine expects to function properly if the sup-index continues to suck in large numbers of quality, authoritive sites based on unknown factors of their algorythm - making them virtually unfindable in Google.

It seems to me that as the sup-index continues to suck up pages that should be left alone, google's serps will become less and less relavant.

The supplimental index should not be used as a penalty box... when is enough - enough? When the sup-index is 10x larger than the regular index?

This may seem like a non-issue to many of you reading this, but it will hit you too someday.. perhaps the next update. There is no rhyme or reason to it, and when you get hit with "supplemental" status - all you can do is wait with your thumb in your rear.

Either the removal tool needs to work properly, or Google's ability to determine what is spam and scraped content needs to improve dramatically. Authoritive sites should not "disappear" entirely from the index.

The damn shame of it all is this:

The vast majority of the spam pages are made for AdSense sites that scrape content from other sites. The only reason these people scrape content, and make spammy sites is because Google is paying them for it via AdSense. By Google not removing these people from the AdSense program, they are pretty much sending out an open invitation for more spam.

If I were MSN or Y! or any engine for that matter - I would be livid at Google... they aren't just ruining their own index - the spam that AdSense generates is affecting all Search Engines in some way, shape, or form.

Take away the spammers'/scrapers AdSense accounts, and they won't have a reason to make spammy pages. Plain and simple.

The next question that comes to mind is: WHY oh WHY, are they not removing these scrapers/spammers from the AdSense program?

My personal opinion is that an absurd amount of revenue is generated for Google as the result of MFA sites that are traps for advertising dollars. While Google realizes that this is not good for the long term - but for the short term, it's a fantastic way to inflate the companies earnings to unrealistic amounts... driving up stock value... making stock owners happy...

The end result is a very massive stock value crash at some point. I think it will happen (sooner than later). I don't see it as a bad thing - perhaps Google will be willing to provide quality search results again if they don't have any shareholders left to impress.


5:58 am on Dec 8, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

So with an ever growing number of sites completely disappearing from the regular index and finding themselves lost in the mass of unranked supplemental pages one would think that Google's result quality should be suffering.

While Iwould agree that the supplemental issue is a giant ball of problems for Google, I would not say that the issue is escalating since last January.

The next question that comes to mind is: WHY oh WHY, are they not removing these scrapers/spammers from the AdSense program?

How are they suppsoed to determine the site has scraped content, with people handing out their articles to hundreds of sites on a daily basis? How does Google distinguish from a regular dupe article published by permission from owner and a site that simply scraped it?


6:37 am on Dec 8, 2005 (gmt 0)

Most commonly, the term "scraper" specifically describes sites whose pages consist of duplicated SERPs, rather than duplicted articles and stories.

The format is easily recognizable. Most of use know a scraper when we see it. If Google decides to view scraper sites as a problem and determines to get rid of them, then simply by reviewing particular sites (choosen by a scraper seeking algo or from a list of sites submitted by users), and by suspending the Adsense accounts associated with the sites confirmed to be undesirable, Google could efficiently engage the problem.

This horse has been beaten to death and I don't expect to put a lot of effort into arguing these points, but I will pre-emptively state that 1) a single scraper publisher can be responsible for millions of pages spread across numerous domains, so stopping a few key publishers will be very effective, 2) Google can well afford to put a half dozen or so employees at work on this full time which I think would be more than enough manpower once the ball gets rolling and 3) Google already exercises the right to suspend Adsense accounts at will and without explanation, so the criteria for expulsion would be determined and executed by Google and charges of unfairness, lack of due process, etc., would be moot.


9:11 pm on Dec 8, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Yeah, I was doing a search last night for ways to convert some database files, and 90% of the results I got back were supplimental. I didn't notice this until I clicked on the most promising one, only to find it was 404, and the search result had no cached copy with it. #*$!? Why bother giving me a search result I can't use?!


7:38 am on Dec 9, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member marcia is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

There are some scattered "pages" on quality sites going Supplemental, which could be for several reasons. But one that I think is among the more important reasons is when pages just don't have enough content on them aside from the global elements.

Other than that, I don't think it's so much that the Supplemental Index is taking over, but more like there's a ton of swill flowing into the index, and they're trying to weed it out by setting it into the Supplemental Index, out of the way.


9:12 am on Dec 9, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Many of my pages are now in the supplemental index - they are pages which have my strapline in the title tag which makes them look like duplicate content.


9:47 am on Dec 9, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Is the supplemental index a collection of banned sites?


9:54 am on Dec 9, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

My site isn't banned - just some pages are filtered our for 'duplicate content'.
Pages of mine in there are dupe content, old pages from 2 years ago etc.


10:04 am on Dec 9, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I just need an advise about how can I find out any of my pages be listed in the supplemental index or not... Thank you in advance for any instruction


7:06 pm on Dec 9, 2005 (gmt 0)


Search in the form:


or site:www.yoursite.com

Supplimental pages will be tagged as such.

Apparently, pages may come up tagged as supplimental for one search phrase, but not for another, but the method above should give you an idea of the status of your site (or individual pages.)

BTW, your site doesn't have to be supplimental to be dropped way, way down in the SERPs.


1:15 am on Dec 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Spent 4K on a website, wrote all the content myself....hundreds of pages of fresh content straight from my brain to the keyword....took my own photos, did my own interviews, built my own custom maps, gathered my own weather data, assembled my own statistics...EVERYTHING is fresh and original.

What does Google do?

They put me in the supplemental index. This has been going on for 3 months now and I have been so discouraged that I have decided to just forget that site and move on. However, I've slowly come back to updating/adding more content...hopefully Google will show me some love soon.


8:49 am on Dec 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

The majority of my site ~2,500 pages were linked like this,


I decided that the directory name wasn't necessary,

301'ed all ~2,500 pages to example.com/name

Now I have ~5,000 supplemental pages, been 6 months


9:05 am on Dec 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I just did the site: ... com and am amazed how many good sites that have a reference to me have gone supplemental. Something must be wrong. The common factor seems to be that they have many links.

My home page is registered as both supplemental and normal which is very strange. The cache is being regularly updated.


3:11 am on Dec 12, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I have just noticed the same problem. I did a "links: www.mydomain.com" and saw that over 95% of the sites linking to me are supplemental!

What does this mean? Is this why I am in the supplemental index as well?



4:46 am on Dec 12, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member annej is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

There are a lot of pages in the serps as supplemental that actually no longer exist. I've had a heck of a time trying to get Google to take my non existant pages out of their index. It's getting to be a huge problem when you delete pages on your site anymore.

In my case I did some reorganization and now there are the real pages and the supplemantal pages. I'm just hoping this doesn't mean Google thinks I have duplicate pages.


5:28 am on Dec 12, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I hope and wish that Matt Cutts or someone shows us some light real soon.


12:48 pm on Dec 12, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

I too have been puzzled (and worried) by why about 5% of my pages were supplemental.

It seems like some of them were turned supplemental because someone was using my content. When I contacted those people and they took it down, those pages quit being supplemental. But most of the supplementals did not appear to be duplicated. So that sure wasn't the whole answer.

A lot of them were old pages that I had taken out of the loop of the site because I had discontinued selling the item. The content was still up there to catch people doing a search, but you couldn't get to the page from within the site without doing a site search, and some of them were very old. They must get hardly any visits. I thought being orphaned and few visits were valid reasons for them to be supplemental.

But some pages were for items I was still selling plenty of. On these pages, I updated the content, checked the keyword density, made sure the meta description was good, and validated the html as much as I could. Nothing seemed to happen.

Today I checked again, as I do every day, and now ALL of the pages, whether I touched them or not, are back from supplemental status. Very mysterious.


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