Starting today, Google will be removing the “supplemental labels” on the URLs of supplemental results displayed by the search engine. Since 2003, the supplemental results has provided Google with a better way of displaying more search results when it crawls websites. Through the supplemental results, Google were able to provide more search results to users even though this results were not crawled from the main index of a website. These supplemental results usually came from other pages of the websites.
In 2006, Google have extensivly indexed as much as it can from other pages of web site aside from its main index page. And these are reflected in the growing number of supplemental results that Google shows to users. Since the difference between the main and supplemental results is getting narrower, Google decided to get rid of the label “supplemental results” as it display the URLS of those supplemental results, the reason apparently according to Google is to give more benefits to users.
There are two possible reactions to these announcement. One coming from the webmaster side would seem to be on a positive note. The more pages that Google indexes from their websites, the more chances of increasing traffic on their site. This is particularly true for “blog type websites” because the meat of their content is not found on the main index page but on the post pages.
But from the point of view of users, these may not be particularly useful and some may find it a waste of time clicking on the URLs of the supplemental results only to find out that those results are not that really relevant to their search query. Some users may not be aware that what they are about to click are just supplemental results from the main index of the website. Chances are those “uninformed” users may click each of those supplemental results but in the end not of these answer their queries.
Whether this decision to remove the supplemental results label would affect webmasters and Google search engine users is yet to be seen in the coming days.
In the meantime the official announcement through a post from the Google Webmaster Central Blog has generated various comments from webmasters and users combined. The reactions are varied and it would be worthwhile to watch for, which side will Google listen to.