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An Unusual Problem With Supplementals

Within a single site, supplemental pages rank ahead of non-supplementals

     
4:39 pm on Dec 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I've been reading about supplementals and feel like I understand what they are and why some pages on my site fall into that category. Fine. But recently, my site has dropped almost completely out of the SERPs for almost every keyword.

The baffling thing is that a search for "site:www.my-site.com" returns a ton of supplemental results for things like little-chartreuse-widgets-that-no-one-has-heard-of-since-1980. Finally, the non-supplemental home page shows up at position 677, after which all of the other high PR pages follow.

This actually happened 5 days ago, but returned to normal after only 24 hours or so. This most recent drop was about 2 days ago, with no signs of life on any datacenter.

I feel like it must be a penalty, but have no idea why. Has anyone ever seen/heard of/experienced something like this before?

7:09 pm on Dec 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Several questions:

How far are these pages from your home page?

If you use copyscape.com and place chunks of your content in the system are you unique?

How old is your site?

7:14 pm on Dec 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I feel like it must be a penalty, but have no idea why.

The only thing I can tell you is that "Google doesn't move a page to the supplemental index in response to any violations of their Webmaster Guidelines." ( [webmasterworld.com...] )

To get out of supplementals, you should get more links from pages having high PR. You should also check that you don't have duplicate content. However sometimes it's not enough and your pages remain supplemental ...

7:30 pm on Dec 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I had a similar problem a few days ago - everything on one of my personal sites went supplemental, and the first entry was the home page plus a strange user session tacked on to it (and I don't use user sessions on that site) I figured out it was a combination of a typo on my part (darn slashes) and some weird discombobulation on Google's part; a bunch of bogus pages got indexed which made the whole site look supplemental (I still don't know where the user session and referral tag came from) and I was seeing quadruple snippets per entry and all kinds of nonsense. That was Sunday. We put the fixes in on Monday, and everything is slowly coming back to normal - 17 pages non-supplemental yesterday, 53 more came out today and so on. And, at least on the servers I have been using, the site: command looks about right, showing 968 pages total, which is close.

It never stopped ranking for short tail terms, but the long tails were totally gone, and traffic was non-existent until it came back yesterday; I was actually impressed with how quickly it recovered.

7:43 pm on Dec 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

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To get out of supplementals, you should get more links from pages having high PR. You should also check that you don't have duplicate content. However sometimes it's not enough and your pages remain supplemental ...

I find if you simply add good content to the page, you can get out of the supplemental issues very easily. Just follow these factors.

Keep your content close to the home page, i.e. donít force a user to click more than 3-5 times to find the content.

Keep the content grouped by theme.

Read up on something called Shingles, itís an interesting subject.

I have sites in very competitive spaces where I have not tried at all to drive links and they are ranking. Its all about good content, when you are dealing with moving up through the last 15 SERPís links are the only way to drive it up. Focus on your content 90% of the time and then think about how to get links.

8:40 pm on Dec 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Thanks for the feedback everyone. However, I don't think I'm articulating my problem very well.

I'm not trying to get the supplemental pages into the regular index. An example of a supplemental page is something like:

www.my-site.com/widgets/red/4millimeter

Google has correctly marked it as supplemental. The problem is that in the "site:www.my-site.com" search,

www.my-site.com/widgets/red/4millimeter

and 665 other pages like it are ranking before

www.my-site.com

ashear: According to copyscape, our content doesn't appear to have been stolen. The site is fairly large, with hundreds of thousands of pages and is about 3 years old.

Has anyone dropped out of the SERPs for a day, gone back to where they were for a few days, then dropped out again? I am basically wondering:
1)what kind of penalty this is, since the site hasn't been dropped from the index altogether
and
2)whether i am better off changing things to solve the problem or waiting to see if it bounces back to its previously good rankings.

Thanks again, everyone.

8:43 pm on Dec 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Serpent

I don't think many responders understood your post. You mentioned normal indexed results following the Supplementals.

Here's one thread with a little discussion:
[webmasterworld.com...]

I agree it can be a penalty and one possibility is excess affiliate links. Another may be the Title, Description, and Content are too well matched for specific keywords. These are just guesses.

9:01 pm on Dec 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Thanks bumpski. This is exactly what I'm talking about.
 

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