Get Out of The Supplemental Index In 3 Steps

July 20th, 2007

Escape the Supplemental Index

So you have found yourself in the Google supplemental index and you want to escape.

Fair enough – unless you are a webmaster / blogger it’s hard to understand just how frustrating it is to find your hard-work ‘binned’ to the supplemental index – but worry no more, it’s easier to get out of the supplemental index than you may think.

In this, part two of my ongoing series on the supplemental index (see part one here – The Google Supplemental Index – A Primer), I’ll be giving you three key steps you can take to get your web page out of the supplemental index and stay out.

STEP 1 – Duplicate Content causes Supplementals

Pick a few key pages on your site, and run them through ‘copyscape’ ( If copyscape says you have duplicate content on your pages, this could be the reason for the supplemental status of your pages.

Edit the pages, make them more unique, put any quotes in a
<quote> tag, and try again. Move to Step 2.

STEP 2 – Backlinks, Backlinks and Backlinks

So you have a page in the supplementals, it is brimming with unique content, and you just can’t wait to get it out – it’s not hard. I have used this technique many, many times, and if done correctly you’ll find it helps bring your whole site from the ‘infant’ status I spoke about in my previous article to ‘adolescence’.

  • Find a page on your site that is in the supplementals, that has heaps of unique content, and note down the url of that page.
  • Find a site that has PR3 or better, and allows you to post your url.
    • If you don’t know what Pagerank is, I define it in my article about nofollow
    • Don’t know how to discover pagerank? You can do so by getting Firefox with Google Toolbar (download it from my toolbar to the right)
  • Post your URL on that page, using descriptive anchor text. (eg, if your page is about widgets, the link should say ‘widgets’ if possible).Try to make your link a deep link – like instead of just
  • Can’t find somewhere you can post a link? Some tips:-
    • Your host’s forum / bulletin board (make sure that they aren’t no-following links).
    • A friend with an established website (a link from the first page is always best)
    • Another of your own websites (I’ve done this before and it works)
    • Paid editorial.
    • DO NOT subscribe to link exchange schemes, ‘free’ directory listings or other such ‘offers’. At best, they don’t work, at worst, they can get you penalized.

This strategy has worked without fail for me.

Use it, and expect your target page to be out of the supplementals within a week or less.

Some people call it giving a page ‘link juice’, or ‘link love’ – whatever you call it, it works.

STEP 3 – Submit a Sitemap to Google

Google webmaster central, and Matt Cutt’s Video about Webmaster Tools will bring you up to speed about this process.

To generate the sitemap for submission, I highly recommend the following free tool.

Why submit a sitemap? Well, you’ve gone to the effort of getting Google ‘interested’ in your site, so you want to give it the best chance possible of indexing your site properly.

A sitemap will help it do this.

Tomorrow, In part three of this series, I’ll be talking about strategies that will help to KEEP your site indexed.

This advice should help you to progress to a ‘mature site’ that is crawled and indexed regularly, without the need for further intervention to keep new pages from going supplemental.




Entry Filed under: SEO Discussions

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24 Comments Add your own

  • 1. EricF  |  March 6th, 2007 at 5:51 pm

    Hi there,

    I’ve read a lot of your advice on the Google Webmaster Help forum and have checked out your blog a couple of times. I’m wondering if you’d be willing to take a few minutes to read a post I wrote yesterday – I think I have a theory about why my Google ranking goes up and down and why my pages are in and out of the supplemental index.

    If you skip the first few paragraphs and just scroll down to the first screen grab, that’s where the post gets more specific.

    I know you spend a lot of time on the GWH group, so don’t worry about checking this out if you don’t have time.

    Eric F.

  • 2. DuckMan  |  March 6th, 2007 at 5:55 pm

    Hi Eric – Nice Blog! Well laid out, to the point and I totally agree with you.

    The take home point is clear – getting links from quality pages is a must if you want to stay out of the supplementals 🙂 Thanks for taking the time to write your post.

    Dockarl / theDuck

  • 3. JLH  |  March 8th, 2007 at 8:24 pm

    Interesting comments on this subject.

    To pimp my blog 🙂

  • 4. DuckMan  |  March 8th, 2007 at 8:34 pm

    Are you the pimper or the pimpee? 🙂

    Actually it’s funny – you posted JUST as I was finishing off a post about you…

    By the way – do you know what’s happened to the ‘alternative’ site about everyone’s favourite poster on Google Webmaster Forums? Seems to be down..

  • 5. JLH  |  March 8th, 2007 at 8:43 pm

    I’d guess I’m pimping the pimped, or something like that. Haven’t been too bothered by our favorite poster lately so I haven’t checked into the site too much.

    Halfdeck and Softplus had some interesting things to say about Supplemental results, I thought, which is why I posted the link.

    I think the best thing I got out of the comments was that maybe its not worth worrying about getting out of supplementals but rather better to think about getting back into the main index, as URLs can exist in both states at the same time. Real life examples are given.

  • 6. JLH  |  March 8th, 2007 at 8:44 pm

    PS congrats on the nofollow policy, I started a separate blog to start keeping track of sites that have started nofollowing responsibly, when I get back to it I’ll remember you.

  • 7. Paul Haskell  |  March 9th, 2007 at 9:52 am

    You say the free directories are no good?
    I have this IBP software and it said to submit to all of em and I did.

    Is this hurting my indexing. I just submitted it to google 2 weeks ago and am trying everything to get it indexed.

  • 8. DuckMan  |  March 9th, 2007 at 10:05 am

    Hi Paul –

    Google realises you can’t help who links to you, but with regards to link directories (other than DMOZ and Yahoo perhaps) you need to realise they provide very little benefit, and can potentially even be detrimental.

    In the worst case, I’ve seen cases of people using link directories, and then linking back to the directory from their site, and subsequently be banned or penalized by google as they have considered that you are participating in a spammy, dodgy circular link exchange scheme or similar.

    You can expect Google knows about the majority of link directories, and lends very little weight to links from them – Google is after good ‘organic’ links – links that you have earnt, links that come from sites that want to link to you.

    The way pagerank works means that these link directories – even when they are not recognised by google as ‘link farms’ in the best case pass very, very little pagerank value to your site, and in the worst case, can lead to problems for your site.


  • 9. Paul Haskell  |  March 9th, 2007 at 10:34 am

    Hmm. Well I did add the reciprocal links. They are all human approved, just require a linkback. And they are in categories like gifts > personailzed. If you think i’m gonna get banned I can take them out. From what I can see they are legit directories requireing approval first. In fact I’ve only been approved by a few so far.

    You spoiled my party !! Thanks though. I appreciate the hard truth.

  • 10. Pulling pages out of supp&hellip  |  March 10th, 2007 at 10:08 pm

    […] following on from my tutorial about pulling pages out of the supplemental index, a person from this topic at the Google Webmaster Help Forums has asked me if it would be possible […]

  • 11. David Bromley  |  May 3rd, 2007 at 5:58 pm

    I am not getting sleep over this stupid Supplemental issue, with 250+ pages and only 11 index 4 real I see no traffic. But with a site with mosstly Peugeot 205 rally car parts maybe this is the issue.
    So Today I will try the 3 steps on a non Peugeot and a Peugeot page and give it a wizz.
    I will keep u updated….

  • 12. DuckMan  |  May 5th, 2007 at 1:05 am

    That’s a nice site you have their David!

    Yes, please do let us know how you go –



  • 13. David Bromley  |  May 15th, 2007 at 5:30 pm

    I did it, I got a page out of supplemental. OK I still have tons of pages in the damm place but I can see how it worked and its out…..

    Now to the others. LOL
    I am also adding the site to lots of 4+ PR directorys to get some nice links back. Its interesting to see my competitors sites are real bad in design and also in some content yet they rank PR4? Strange but true…..

  • 14. DuckMan  |  May 16th, 2007 at 10:40 am

    Hi David!

    Thanks for your comments –

    Be very very wary of using directories – I don’t know if you read the comments above, but link directories can actually have a negative impact upon your indexing if they have been identified as a link farm.

    Also, just because the directory is PR4 doesn’t mean that you will get much benefit from them – see for an explanation of how PR works, and you will discover that pages with a large number of links will only pass a small amount of PR.

    NEVER under any circumstances link back to link directories, as this can make your site look like part of the scheme, and Google frowns upon that.

    In a nutshell, I’d recommend avoiding using link directories when at all possible.



  • 15. I'm coming back! - UtheGu&hellip  |  June 4th, 2007 at 11:15 pm

    […] how to get out of the supplemental index out of the supplemental index – it’s called irony – the supplemental index and how to get out of the supplemental index – there – done – back on the front page – now do […]

  • 16. DuckMan  |  June 4th, 2007 at 11:23 pm

    David – if you’re still around – I did a bit of copyscape analysis on your site, and it looks like you have heaps of duplicate content – in your case I’d say that’s prob the cause.



  • 17. David Bromley  |  June 5th, 2007 at 12:23 am

    I have taken a look copyscape b4
    Is it worth a sign up the the money?

  • 18. DuckMan  |  June 5th, 2007 at 12:19 pm

    Hi David!

    I don’t think you really need to sign up – just use the free version – and put a few of your supp pages through it.

    It looks to me like a heck of a lot of your supplemental content is either copied by other sites or vice versa. That’s going to put you in supplemental very very quickly indeed because Google is great at detecting duplicate content.


  • 19. Bambarbia  |  June 6th, 2007 at 2:43 am

    Have anyone tried with ?

  • 20. Bambarbia  |  June 6th, 2007 at 2:44 am

    with …
    {meta name=”ROBOTS” content=”NOARCHIVE”}

  • 21. murk  |  August 3rd, 2007 at 2:50 pm

    Enjoyed your articles on supps etc. immensely.

    You wrote…”Tomorrow, In part three of this series…”

    Did you ever write part three? I couldn’t find it.

  • 22. David Bromley  |  August 5th, 2007 at 5:20 am

    Hi Again
    Well what can I say, the dam suppleee mental has gone. Now I am going mental with worry of whats in and whats out?

  • 23. theDuck  |  August 5th, 2007 at 3:46 pm

    There are still a few shortcuts you can use.

    Enter and it will show you your supplementals.


  • 24. Wonkie cartoons  |  January 17th, 2009 at 3:33 am

    Hi.. I’ve followed the steps outlined to try to see if I have supplemental pages in google’s index and it appears as though I don’t have any.. not sure if google has updated the way it presents supplemental results since you’ve written these articles?

    I am using wordpress and besides using the excerpt feature I am not excluding the tags, categories or archives from indexing (through robots.txt etc) so by your duplicate content argument I should have some pages in the supplemental index? Bit of a newbie so not sure how to verify this?

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