Google Offers Reprieve From Google Hell

The four-year experiment is over.

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Webmasters can stop fretting about Google’s supplemental results – they’re not really there anymore. Google has lifted the veil between indices.

Google introduced its supplemental results in 2003, much to the chagrin of webmasters actively looking to have more of their content indexed for search. In what the company then called "a new Google experiment," a pair of indexes were created, one for the search engine’s main results, and a second for more obscure queries.

And then four years of confusion ensued – at least for webmasters. The new index appeared to be "where Google puts the trash."

Though Google repeatedly said that webpages placed in the supplemental index were not placed there because of some kind of penalty, webmasters quickly realized how badly their search traffic suffered.

Though not an outright penalty, voices from inside Google suggested that pages in the supplemental index often had certain things in common: few or no quality backlinks, orphaned pages, URLs with too many parameters, low PageRank, duplicate content, et cetera.

Pages in the supplemental index were not crawled as often, and not returned in the main results unless not enough results were found for a query. Thus, a new SEO focus was on how to get one’s pages out of "Google Hell" and into the main search results.

Back in July of this year, Google stopped labeling them as "supplemental results" as such a label implied that the results were inferior. The crew was in the process of overhauling the system to provide deeper and more continuous indexing with fewer restrictions and a greater ability to handle URLs with more parameters.

This was the first real signal that the supplemental index was on its last legs, as engineers noted that "the distinction between the main and the supplemental index is therefore continuing to narrow."

Yesterday, even as forums around the net were upset by an apparent increase in the number of pages relegated to the supplemental index, Google’s Yonatan Zunger announced that "the elimination of the artificial difference between indices" was complete.

Zunger writes, "rather than searching some part of our index in more depth for obscure queries, we’re now searching the whole index for every query.

"From a user perspective, this means that you’ll be seeing more relevant documents and a much deeper slice of the web, especially for non-English queries. For webmasters, this means that good-quality pages that were less visible in our index are more likely to come up for queries."

So that’s good news. Google will search both indexes for all queries rather than only bringing up supplemental results for difficult queries. Zunger said it took "some truly amazing technical feats," but webmasters no doubt will feel it’s four years overdue.

Google Offers Reprieve From Google Hell
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  • http://www.mvisearch.com Phil

    This is very funny when looking back at all the huff search marketers and webmasters made when they removed the supplemental label from search results. They can all take a deep breath and sigh in relief now :)

  • Jaan Kanellis

    So we should consider the SI as gone or non-existent correct?

    Should we even look at those inaccurate SI or pages indexed operators ever again?

    Are all pages being judged equally right now?

    Is this why many websites have been seeing the total number of pages indexed going down when checking the site: operator?


    GOOGLE SUCKS! Why anyone still uses this over-rated search engine is beyond me. They invade people’s privacy, they penalize adsense users for no reason, and people with good websites never get seen. Why is everyone so GA GA over Google? Brainwashing that’s why! Yahoo is a far better search engine with much more relevant results. IXquick is better as well and they don’t invade your privacy. And one that few people know about is Clusty. This one breaks things down and clusters them into relevant results. Don’t feed the Google behemoth! Four year Google hell? Google can go to hell for all I care!

  • http://www.seoworkers.com Webnauts

    I have reasons to have doubts about that. One of them is:

    I was checking some sites searching with /* which was actually quite cool.

    If supplemental results have disappeared, you would expect it to return the same number of pages as the search query without /*. Right?

    But that doesn’t happen! Is the probably another Fairy Tail?

  • http://www.chainzonline.com CrankyDave

    Tend to agree Jaan.

    I’m not seeing a whole lt to lead me to believe, that as far as the searcher is concerned, much has changed in regards to what they are delivered for their queries.

    Personally, I’m still seeing longtail queries where there’s less than a page of relevant exact phase matches not showing up for a general search.

    Additionaly, when using the site: operator, there’s still a clear delineation between te pages that “were in the RI” and “were in the SI”.

  • http://www.zamex.be Guest

    I’ have seen de results for “chapewerken” being reduced from 10.350 to little over 4.000

  • http://www.travel-ascending.com Don

    Now can someone do something about removing ridiculous
    penalties that are impossible to determine the root cause of.

  • Toto

    Guys, Google is the new Microsoft. It is time to shift the battle! They have too much power and that’s bad. Google owns you! Google is evil. Google should be your slave, not the other way around. Microsoft’s evilness is nothing compared to this monster.

    Webmasters, programmers, quit whining about Microsoft and start fighting this monster. Start supporting more Yahoo, Microsoft, ask.com to level the playing field. Write more articles supporting those engines or something!


  • http://theholistichorse.com/index.php Donald Stewart CEO, The Holistic Horse

    We are going to early in 2008 revamp our website to make it easier to find products with a search box and an all new shopping cart through PayPal that figures correct shipping cost.

    Compared to what we have now it will be a very big face lift. We are hoping our clients love it as much as we do.

    Have a great holliday season,

    Don Stewart

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