Google Supplemental Results & Big Daddy
As I was running through my daily web chores today I noticed something peculiar on Big Daddy server: http://188.8.131.52. I did a site: command and instead of the usual 100,000 or so results I saw the dreaded supplemental results notification. I had lost 98,000 indexed pages and left with a paltry 108 pages! The website in question is an old and trusted client and the website is primarily a large Vbulletin based forum. As of yet the changes have not reflected on non Big Daddy servers, but that sinking feeling in my gut tells me that this will in fact happen in the next 48 hours or so.
The official Google speak on supplemental results:
“Supplemental sites are part of Google’s auxiliary index. We’re able to place fewer restraints on sites that we crawl for this supplemental index than we do on sites that are crawled for our main index. For example, the number of parameters in a URL might exclude a site from being crawled for inclusion in our main index; however, it could still be crawled and added to our supplemental index. The index in which a site is included is completely automated; there’s no way for you to select or change the index in which your site appears. Please be assured that the index in which a site is included does not affect its PageRank.”
Huh? The reason pages go into the supplemental results is they are not being crawled – not that they contain crappy content. If the page at some point gets crawled again it is no longer supplemental. You can see why large discussion forums are being affected, and don’t think those of us with 250,000 indexed pages were not nervously waiting for this tree to fall. Now this can likely be overcome with some better SEO on these boards, and I for one did not really focus on much more than the basics for our Vbulletin board, but one has to wonder if this even recoverable. Many webmasters are reporting losses of all pages but their home page. Ouch!
Another added bonus of getting the supps is your pages tend to have an old description in their cache (since they are not crawled). You will often see them with a very old date. In other words, once your site is sent to Google Hell it is not going anywhere unless you make some changes.
Ok so why is this happening?
One very real possibility is the new changes are due to a temporary cache shift, a blooper, or some other dev related issue. In that case Google engineers are likely drinking a lot of coffee right now as many large and respected websites have lost 90% of their pages from the index.
Another possibility is this update has to do with duplicate content penalties.
Still another possibility is it has to do with keeping a consistent navigation through your website as Matt Cutt’s recently dropped at the SES in NY.
Specualtion aside I don’t work for Google so basically I have no freaking idea what’s up with G today. All I know is it sucks.
A quick scan of the usual blogs and forums didn’t reveal much but I eventually found some discussion around the recent supplemental results update at webmasterworld. Nothing yet today from Matt Cutt’s or GoogleGuy and I don’t expect there to be. Yep it’s Valium time.
Tell me this stuff isn’t heart attack food…and with a hang over no less. I would love to hear details and opinions from others who caught the supps today if you’re out there.
Miles Evans provides indepth reviews on every SEO/marketing or killer app he can get his paws on. His reviews, essays, and tools on organic SEO & other equally fascinating subjects are normally carried out at ProfitPapers.com