Wednesday, September 20, 2006
Google Supplemental Part 1
Several people have complained for some time now that Google's Algorithm has gone bonkers. You see several SEO sites going into the toilet. Many sites have lost internal PR, back-links, or have simply ended in supplemental results.
One such site I noticed ended up in Supplemental results recently is an eCommerce Store for collectable McCoy Pottery. This particular site is not "brand new". In fact, it has been around since 1997. It's an old domain with natural rankings, great PR, relevant and decent back-links, and little to no SEO in use.
The store has unique content in that it lists several works of McCoy Pottery collectibles from a wide range of dissimilar categories. However this site has still found its way into Supplemental results with Google.
The site and its partners sites, a Forum, Mailing List, Vast Database of McCoy Pieces, as well as history, along with an Auction site are all heavily ranked number one in every major search engine for their particular keyword. These rankings are the result of pure organic results and a site that has nothing but 100% relevant content as it pertains to the subject matter at hand.
So, what are Supplemental results? If you get really bored, you can watch Matt Cutts video dichotomy about the subject here.
Supplemental results are the result of a new experimental feature in Googles Algorithm to augment the results of a keyword search for obscure queries.
What does that mean? Well in short, or in theory what Google hoped to attempt was to return more results for search queries that have, for example, a smaller number of results. The hope here was to improve the recall of those results on more specific search queries. Say someone doing a more specific search for something, vs. someone doing a popular keyword search.
Some people have come up with several theories as to why indexed pages of a site get into Supplemental results. Steveb over at Webmaster World created a nice write up with Ideas on Washing Out Supplemental Results" over at Webmasterworld. Unfortunately that thread does not seem to exist anymore. But you can see more on Steveb's comments at SEO Round Table.
Hell, even SEOBook has an opinion on What Google Supplemental Results are.
The March 10th archives for SEOBook state:
"What are supplemental results?
Supplemental results usually only show up in the search index after the normal results. They are a way for Google to extend their search database while also preventing questionable pages from getting massive exposure."
That said, it is quite obvious Google is attempting to do a bit more with their "Supplemental Results" than simply provide a better search experience. They are in fact also attempting to knock out those SEO sites that specifically intend to flood Googles index with a large volume of pages in an effort to leverage that exposure for a more positive presence in the Google and elsewhere. The problem is, some sites like The McCoy Pottery Online Store are inadvertently caught up in the fire storm.
Over the next few weeks I will begin addressing the problem of Supplemental Results as it concerns The McCoy Pottery Online Store.
I will start by first addressing all the possible reasons that The McCoy Pottery Online Store could have been place in Supplemental Results. From there I will begin making small adjustments to the php code within The McCoy Pottery Online Store and waiting, watching, then noting any positive and or negative changes as a result of those changes made.
I plan to document this experiment here over the next several weeks in an effort to aid others who have fallen prey to the collateral damage that Supplemental Results have caused to legitimate web sites.