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Supplemental results - when will I know if my changes helped or not!

     
7:41 pm on Apr 27, 2007 (gmt 0)

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I recently found out that many of the pages on my site have gone supplemental. I tried to figure out what the cause was and tried to make some changes!

By when can I expect results or no results? When will I know for sure that the changes that I have made are not working?

Please do help!

11:45 pm on Apr 27, 2007 (gmt 0)

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This happened to me on all of my sites. I noticed it at the beginning of Feb. For example, one site had 2 pages in the main index with the rest being deemed supplemental. The two pages were both the home page. I made quick fixes. By the first of March, about 20 pages were in the index. Made more changes. By first of April, about 250 in the index. Made more changes. Now, about 550 are in the index. There are about a hundred or so left to go. PR is 4.

After I began to fix the problem, it took a week before anything was added back in. Most of the time, a few pages are added per day. For a week or so each month, a bunch are added every day. Then it slows back down to a few a day.

11:57 pm on Apr 27, 2007 (gmt 0)

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There are many different reasons for a page going supplemental.

It is important to identify the reasons so you can apply the correct fix.

Some things can't be fixed. They just are.

12:27 am on Apr 28, 2007 (gmt 0)

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MC: "PageRank is the primary factor determining whether a url is in the main web index."
12:29 am on Apr 28, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Some of those reasons can be fixed by tweaking your own site (duplicate content, etc) while others cannot.
2:14 am on Apr 28, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Thanks guys!

When will I know if my changes have helped? How much time should I wait?

What are the reasons for going supplemental that cannot be fixed?

Thanks!

2:41 am on Apr 28, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Hard and fast answers are difficult, because the way Google assigns urls to the Supplemental Index seems to shift. Through Feb and Mar of this year, many urls were being added to the Supplemental Index - it seemed like a mass migration without obvious reason. Then sometimes without any changes from those sites, many of those urls went back into the regular index this month.

Now some people did make changes in that period hoping to improve things. Others did not, but both saw their urls lose the Supplemental Results tag. Cause and effect is very slippery in a situation like this. And the strange thing is that in some cases at least, none of this shifting around changed their Google traffic situation.

I'm personally done with obsessing about Supplementals. If a supplemental tags brings umy attention to something I can improve, then I do it for the sake of the site and its visitors. If I really made an improvement, then there's a decent chance I'll see an improvement in Google. I even know of a url that is still Supplemental but comes up #1 for a decent search query and delivers regular traffic.

I think the Supplemental tag is something like a blood sugar reading on your lab test. It certainly can be an indicator for you and your doctor, but it takes a whole lot more information than that to make strong pronouncements about your health.

2:49 am on Apr 28, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Hey thanks!

My problem is that I think I actually made some mistakes with the url and the content on the pages. So I might be in the supplemental index for a good reason. Like "duplicate content"!

But, now I have fixed all those problems and use 301 redirects and everything. So, I am wondering, how long goole takes to see my site again and decide that it is "main index" worthy?

1:24 pm on Apr 28, 2007 (gmt 0)

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How long has it been since you made the changes? For my site, it took about a week to begin to see results.

Supplementals were my fault, also, having made all titles and descriptions in the metatags similar. Content on the pages was not unique enough from page to page, also (lots of boilerplate). For my other sites, on which I haven't yet done any fixes other than the metatags, only about 10 pages came back into the main index.

Most of the pages on my site (the one that I've worked on) are PR0, the best page being the home page, at PR4. A few are PR1 or PR2. Despite the PR0, most are now non-supplemental.

Traffic has doubled since going from 2 pages in the main index to 400+ pages in the index. Maybe more importantly, the quality of the traffic is better. For some reason, before cleaning things up there were more referrals from Google's images search in foreign countries than from the U.S. I was receiving more referrals from MSN than from any particular Google server (not that this indicates low quality, it is just unusual as google has been the top off-site referrer for years).

I did not really notice a reduction in sales overall, as most sales come to this site due to an intuitive domain name and good ranking for keywords in the domain, which hasn't changed. I did notice a reduction in sales on the affiliate products pages and adsense (this income is not the primary income for the site).

6:33 pm on Apr 28, 2007 (gmt 0)

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One of my sites had almost all its pages in the supplementals index.

I solved most of the duplicate content issues and had other sites link to me to boost page rank.

My pages took *1 HOLE YEAR* to get out of supplementals. But man, when they're out of it there is a big boost in visitors!

My advice is to avoid copying contents from other sites (eg: wikipedia, etc.) and build original quality contents.

5:04 am on Apr 30, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Sorry to bump this one back up to the top but, over the past 5 or 6 days we've seen almost half of our content moved to the supplemental index.

Our site has been around for 6 years or so and has a TBPR of 4.

The only changes that we've recently made are 301'ing a few related sites (two months ago) and adding new content pages (with unique hand written text) on a daily basis.

Some people have mentioned making changes to get their content out of the supplemental index - could you explain any successful changes you've made so that we can try? Please.

Thanks

Mick

5:17 am on Apr 30, 2007 (gmt 0)

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What is creating the present time movement of pages into the Supplemental Index may not be the same situation that people fixed in the past. But to learn about historical fixes, I suggest you study these threads that are in our "Hot Topics" section, pinned to the top of the forum's index page:

Supplemental Results [webmasterworld.com] - what exactly are they?
Duplicate Content [webmasterworld.com] - get it right or perish
Duplicate Content [webmasterworld.com] - comments from Google's Adam Lasnik
Thin Affiliate Pages [webmasterworld.com] - with comments from Google's Adam Lasnik

The most common problems I've seen historically have been:

1. Duplicate URLs for the same content
2. Near duplicate or "thin" page content
3. Duplicate titles and meta descriptions -- especially on low PR pages
4. Low PR pages in general, often cause by long "silo" click paths as the only access to the pages, which can be addressed with inbound links

5:28 am on Apr 30, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Thanks for that Tedster lots of reading in there for me today.

This is the first time we've headed into the supplemental index situation so we're (I'm) both confused and concerned about it.

We think that the same thing is happening to one of our competitors as well. Their pages that have already gone supplemental seem to have unique well written content in them and we can't see why either their site or ours has 'suddenly' gone supplemental.

Some of our pages that have gone in there are about a month or so old and had been previously ranking well. (we knew it was too good to be true!)

9:04 am on Apr 30, 2007 (gmt 0)

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I forgot to mention that the week previous to 'going supplemental' (feel like 'going postal') I added Google Analytics to our site. Not sure if that was a coincidence but you never know so I removed it.
10:09 am on Apr 30, 2007 (gmt 0)

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I don't have (at least i think i don't!) any of the standard supplemental issues any more.

I think i was made supplemental because of some of the mistakes with multiple urls to same content issue! But now i have rectified that.... provided a fresh site map to Google....used 301 redirects on the old links so i am waiting for Google to take me in again!

When will it happen ohh, great Google God?

 

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