Long Tail De Jour: what’s the point in adding more pages to my site if google doesn’t index them or puts them into the supplemental index?

A couple days ago, someone hit my site with this longtail:

what’s the point in adding more pages to my site if google doesn’t index them or puts them into the supplemental index

Crazy, long huh? :) When I start talking to myself, my friends start to worry. When I start talking to Google, I need a doctor :D

The obvious answer: Forget Google. Build your site for visitors.
Reply: What visitors? Where am I gonna get the traffic if I don’t show up on Google?
Counter reply: There are tons of other ways of generating traffic besides Google. There’s always MSN and Yahoo. Besides, people can see you instantly on Technorati if you publish a post on a blog, or *gasp* bookmark yourself on del.icio.us.
Rebuttal: Yeah right. MSN sends me like 1 hit a week. That’ll buy me a pair of shoes maybe if I wait like 5 months.
Me: That’s your problem. You’ve got the unenlightened self-interest bug.
Reply: The….what??

Definition of selfishness, according to Wikipedia:

a selfish person deliberately focuses on his own agenda, rather than that of others.

But wait a minute:

un-selfishness is a deliberate act, rather than selfishness, which tends to occur naturally. In the animal kingdom, few species exhibit unselfish behavior.

Not to mention selfishness isn’t all bad:

Selfishness has some good qualities such as productivity or the taking of personal responsibility. One view is that since one needs to act in a mainly self-interested way in order to advance in life doing so should not be regarded as wrong, or labelled as harmful or inappropriate.

Now check out “rational selfishness” or “rational self-interest”:

The philosophy holds that individuals should not act on momentary self-interested whims but on what is in their long-term self-interest, which is defined to require respecting the individual liberty of others by refraining from initiating coercion against them.

And we finally end up with Enlightened self-interest:

Enlightened self-interest is a philosophy in ethics which states that persons who act to further the interests of others (or the interests of the group or groups to which they belong), ultimately serve their own self-interest.

So what’s unenlightened self-interest?

Unenlightened self-interest, in which it is argued that when most or all persons act according to their own myopic selfishness, that the group suffers loss as a result of conflict, decreased efficiency because of lack of cooperation, and the increased expense each individual pays for the protection of their own interests.

Oook, so now you’re probably thinking, what the hell does this unenlightened self-interest thingie got to do with getting indexed in Google?

Here’s a shocking revelation: some people care more about money than about putting out the best product in their niche. If you’re Shoemoney, you don’t need organic ranking to make big bucks. You really don’t even need a website to make money with PPC. But if you want to rank high in organic search results, what in the God’s name do you think you’re doing trying to get to the top with a mediocre site no one in the right mind wants to recommend? :)

What’s a good business model? Amazing your clients. You under promise and over deliver. Want to rank #1 on Google? Build a site that deserves to be #1. Focus on what other people want and contribute to society instead of obsessing about how much money you need to pay your mortage or buy another game on your PS3. What’s that old saying?

You reap what you sow.

P.S. Yeah I realize this post sounds preachy, but its good to get hit over the head with a hammer once in a while to maintain perspective, don’t you think? :)

UPDATE: Matt Cutts asks “What value is my site offering to users?“

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2 Responses to “Long Tail De Jour: what’s the point in adding more pages to my site if google doesn’t index them or puts them into the supplemental index?”

  1. You might also point out that there’s a world of difference between “not indexed” and “put into supplemental” when it comes to long tail query terms.

    If I’m looking for really obscure stuff in the long tail, being in supplemental isn’t really a barrier - everyone else’s stuff on that subject is gonna be supplemental too.

    If I’m searching for “spinning blue left-handed Tasmanian widgets” and find your page, maybe I’ll link to it - and that’s gonna help you rank for “widgets” too.

    OK, I know, a lot of ifs in there, but it’s still true.

  2. Hey Chris,

    I agree. I saw you posting a question over at Matt Cutt’s blog recently that was kinda related to this post:

    “So, Matt, can you confirm that the only effect of being in the supplemental index is that the page gets crawled less often, or does it have an impact on ranking?”

    IMO it can have a big impact on ranking and traffic.

    One of my white hat 2k+ page site was pulling about 1K a day when it had ~600 pages in the main index, primarily due to internal links anchor text. The site ranked on the first page for virtually every keyword it was designed for.

    When it “went” supplemental, the ranking and traffic both vanished. If the pages just dropped slightly in PageRank, the ranking drop shouldn’t be that dramatic. This tells me links from supplemental pages are devalued. They may pass the normal amount of PageRank, but the ranking benefit from those links IMO are minimal.

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