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Supplemental Index

April 7, 2010
Dear Jill,
Photo Credit A. Walden
I'm still working on my site's link popularity as we speak. But due to my very low link popularity, is that enough to send my pages to Google's Supplemental Index?


++Jill's Response++

Hi Jesse,

First, a quick word about Google's supplemental index for those who may not know what it is. A few years ago, you could often find results in Google that actually said something like, "These sites are in our supplemental index."

While there is no supplemental results label in the Google search results anymore, there still is a supplemental index, and it is indeed where pages that have little value can end up. For the most part, pages in the supplemental index are those whose content is the same or very similar to other pages, and/or they don't have enough PageRank (the real kind, not the toolbar kind) to be placed in the regular index.

So in answer to your question, yes, very low link popularity can throw pages of your site into the supplemental index. It's doubtful that the top-level pages of your site would be there unless they were dupes of other pages, were extremely new and had no links at all, or most of the links pointing to the site were of very low quality.

The pages that typically are found in the supplemental results are those that are buried very deeply within low PageRanked sites – in other words, a site that doesn't have enough overall PageRank to spread some around to its deeper pages.

The way out of the supplemental index is to gain more overall link popularity and do a better job linking internally to the supplemental pages. Or, alternatively, try to gain links that point directly to the pages stuck in the supplemental listings.

The good news is that most pages in the supplemental index, while perhaps important to your site visitors, often don't need to be found directly from the search engines.


Jill Whalen is the CEO of High Rankings, a Boston SEO Services company.

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