Google originally introduced supplemental results back in 2003 in an effort to expand their ability to index more web content. While the goal was to index more content, for webmasters, ending up in Google’s supplemental results was almost viewed as a penalty.
Supplemental results were URLs that Google deemed less relevant based on the strict criteria they used for their main web index. Whether due to low PageRank, low frequency updating or complex URLs, webmasters dreaded the supplemental index, no matter how much Google promoted its virtues.
According to a recent post on the Google Webmaster Central Blog, Google is working towards reducing the negativity associated with the supplemental index. While the index will remain in the short term, the following changes should see webmasters less weary of supplemental listing:
1. Removing Supplemental label
Google will remove the “supplemental” label attached to listings in the supplemental index. While it’s only an index name, many webmasters will be happy to see the “supplemental” stigma removed from their listings.
2. Supplemental index and crawling overhaul
The way that Google crawls and indexes the supplemental index has been overhauled progressively since 2006. Google believes the new method will ensure deeper and fresher indexing, meaning that the supplemental index will be of more value to their users.
3. Increased exposure for supplemental results
Over the coming summer, Google will make it possible for all searches to access the supplemental index results, giving users easier access to a great range of content, and more exposure to webmasters with listings in the index.
While the exercise in many ways seems like Google is just re-branding its supplemental index, for the many webmasters that have URLs banished to supplemental status, these changes will surely be welcomed. And for those webmasters starting out with new sites – the supplemental index changes “could” provide an easier avenue into Google’s results.