Internet Porn Goes Supplemental


On my blog earlier this year I made a half-joking half-serious post about Google "tampering" with porn SERP's. Valleywag is reporting some of it's adult content sister sites have dropped from Google index

The personal blog of San Francisco's Violet Blue, a sex writer published in the San Francisco Chronicle and Valleywag's sister site, has been removed from the Google index, along with several other adult sites.

Now looking at some of the [site:] searches for the domains they seem to be going through the same "supplemental problems" that many other webmasters are also reporting:


Now clearly all of this must just be a figment of our holiday overloaded minds because Matt Cutts says there was no update and further down goes onto to explain how going supplemental isn't bad

DazzlinDonna/Graywolf, site: used to show purely random pages a year or so ago. Now site: tends to show shorter urls higher instead of a random order. I’m happy to see an example if anyone wants to post an example where a site: search looks strange, but I’ll pre-ask people to step into Googlers’ shoes and realize that supplemental results by themselves don’t indicate badness/penalties/problems.

However it seems like me lots of people actually want their pages to rank for things and not go into supplemental hell with this "non update" no matter what Kool-Aid the googlers are serving us while trying to sell us new footwear.


If I may

If I may clarify:

supplemental = low quality page to Google


So in the event that a site: command lists the majority of URLs as supplemental, then this means these pages are less likely to be found on web searches than non-supplemental pages?

Simply trying to ensure we understand what Google is saying, and what webmasters think Google is saying.

Subtle differences

I think many of the people here get that supplemental doesn't equate to a penalty, ban or filter, just an understanding it's in the index but not important enough to rank. However for most folks that distinction doesn't exist.

As an example, it doesn't matter if it's the wall switch or the light bulb that's broken either way you're sitting alone in the dark.

They are trying to get rid of porn

It might be to do with the fact they don't want people going to porn sites by mistake so are making the sites rank lower.

If a site mentions sex a lot then it might be looked upon as a porn site.


Your right GW, it does not matter to most folks why the site is not showing up in the SERP, only us weird SEO types care about that stuff.

I always wondered why google labeled these results with the supplemental tag. It seemed to me that google was just asking for problems by showing the supplemental tag to users.

I think it would have been far better to not tag these results at all...

Supplemental Results is a Negative tag no matter how Matt or Google want to spin it.

Indeed, GW - it's more that

Indeed, GW - it's more that if Matt pops by, hopefully it help clarifies communications from the offset.

I remember you posting about a site that has been supplemental for a while, and I've got a small forum that's also entirely supplemental on site: - so I figure clearing communications is the first hurdle.

I tend to wonder about the supplementals...

I tend to wonder about the supplementals and why/how they get there. There are many, many searches where sites that are clearly sporting content that -should be- supplement, do not have the supplemental filter applied.

From Matt's comment section:

Should be supplemental, lots of sites copying a central template or source:

They are supplemental, a few sites that copy a popular source:

Is there an extra component at play? I mean WTF does a sports site need a post about the movie 'the day the earth stood still'... this makes sense to be supplemental in Goog's serps:

But... hundreds of mortgage sites copying each other, maybe some leeway there since the copied content is relevant to the overall theme of the site but still.. it's duplicate... should be supplemental no?


>>>"I tend to wonder about the supplementals and why/how they get there."

?Like all things google... It is NOT just one thing, it is a combination of things that trigger the supplemental listing and tag.


Hey Lotso,

Yes, I agree on that there are likely various combinations of factors. I'm trying to explore the why/how/what/etc. of those combinations.

Like my post above, why is it that hundreds of mortgage sites re-use the same content and do not go supplemental and offer nothing good/original/unique on those pages.

Yet if a bunch of splogs swipe my content on my blog or website and my blog or website is related to topic X, why is it that my site's pages may go supplemental? It's in the same category of X?

Again, just trying to understand this topic in a more comprehensive way and see what others think about it, just like the original poster.

boingboing says

that there are now reports coming in that the serps have returned to normal

But it looks like Violet Blue has taken the tried-and-true FUD path, crying out in anguish (with real alligator tears) and implying that it's the mom-n-pop porn sites who lost rank (and sales over the holidays).

"Violet Blue, also the author of newly-disappeared Tiny Nibbles, says:

What's disturbing to me (besides the harm it's done to small businesses over the holidays) is that Google's snafu seems to have dropped more sex-positive businesses (that focus on accurate sex ed) than big-gun, mainstream adult businesses (that sell unsafe sex toys and skanky product). To me, this also shows the huge problem with having a monoculture wherin a single business is depended on to provide a communication service. They screw one thing up, and an essential feature (like access to accurate search result information) disappears. "

I think seo holds the copyright on the Collateral Damage Defense, Violet.

Man behind the curtain

So c'mon you googly types what happened and what did you do to "fix" it, inquiring minds want to know ...

(knew I should have taken screen shots)

screen shots

Hey, GW, what Violet may not know is that the first tests are usually a pretty good precursor. SE's don't turn the tuning knobs if they like the current picture.

>>huge problem with having a

>>huge problem with having a monoculture

Nice to see that some of the blogs in the BoingBoing orbit are finally figuring this out. Usually BoingBoing and their friends are Google-can-do-no-wrong faithful. Is this a sea-change in blogger attitudes?


Nah, I suspect most of the change at BoingBoing is simply a reflection of John Battelle's shift in tone on this issue.

To understand why the

To understand why the results are poor in adult, you have to understand how adult sites work. You essentially have under 1% of the sites that actually sell something, and over 99% of the sites pushing traffic to those sites as affiliates. There is very little middle ground here. You have very few sites that put up porn for the fun of it. It's essentially like taking a mainstream industry and dropping every site in it that doesn't sell something or is an affiliate for someone.

So what that leaves is a group of webmasters all fighting for the same dollar. No one is giving up links to other affiliate sites because they feel it is beneficial to their user. No one is linking to adult sites just for the hell of it as well. The primary way of getting links has been through trades. While this was fine and dandy in the past, as Google's algorithm advanced to spot link schemes, adult has been sacrificed because of it. Since most sites have relied on reciprocal link trading and since the industry lacks any natural linking because of its nature, it simply doesn't work in an algorithm geared toward mainstream sites.

So what you're seeing is sites that were popular in the past become untrusted, which in turn flourishes to new sites that receive links from them. A lack of "trusted" and "authority" sites has made it difficult for new sites to flourish as well.

To me, it's not about Google blocking out adult content. Heck, a good percent of their searches are adult oriented and there are certainly better ways to block out that content than this. I think it's just a case of adult having a completely different structure than most mainstream industries.

**I'd also like to add that it looks like they have been targeting blogs of late in Google. Not older established blogs, but new ones that generate feeds, trade links with other blogs, and never obtain links from good neighborhoods. I think the fact that sex blogs don't rank as well also has to do with the fact that newer and smaller blogs are having a much more difficult time than before.

Thinking the same thing

>So what you're seeing is sites that were popular in the past become untrusted

I was thinking along similar lines, but I was fishing for an "official" opinion.

However this isn't limited just to the adult space as I have a number of blogs/websites that were negatively affected by this "non update". Some older 2003 some new early 2006. It's annoying to have to go through this discussion/denial/obfuscation of what's an update, what's a data refresh, whats someone bending over to tie their shoelace during the winter solstice while mercury was in retrograde. Something changed and people noticed.

Wait, wait, is THIS

Wait, wait, is THIS threadwatch? Can't be. Where's the titlebait?

Thought-provoking post, MrTurner. Feels right.

>It's annoying to have to go through this discussion/denial/obfuscation of what's an update

Yeah, so don't. You'll live longer.

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