Google hasn’t released any major algorithm changes since a while. The latest one is, Thursday’s Page Layout Algorithm update which released to penalizes sites with excessive ads above the fold (part of a website / webpage that’s visible without scrolling).
Google didn’t cite in their blog about how much is too much but mentioned “This algorithmic change does not affect sites who place ads above-the-fold to a normal degree, but affects sites that go much further to load the top of the page with ads to an excessive degree or that make it hard to find the actual original content on the page. This new algorithmic improvement tends to impact sites where there is only a small amount of visible content above-the-fold or relevant content is persistently pushed down by large blocks of ads”
As per Mashable The search engine will show more high-quality websites by downgrading pages that display too many ads, according to a blog post from Google engineer Matt Cutts. High-quality sites will also be rewarded, encouraging “a healthy web ecosystem.”
Google’s new Page Algorithm Layout Update is only anticipated to affect 1% of searches, but if your website shows too much ads above-the-fold, start working on making changes to your page layout (I already removed my 336×280 ad and replaced with small 468×60 ad).
Will My Site Be Penalized?
As per Google’s blog post, if a user unable to see the information they are looking for above the fold there is a chance of being penalized. It means, a website that displays more ads above its content which affects user’s experience will get penalized by this algorithm change.
What Is The Solution?
- Avoid starting article with ads, or a 468×60 ad will help you to pull you content above the fold.
- Never start an article with image (it may please a visitor, but it’s not a best SEO practice).
- Never start an article with little content and followed by ads.
- Avoid placing ads “above the fold”.
How Do I Make Sure My Website Isn’t Affected?
Matt Cutts’ conversation with Danny Sullivanof Search Engine Land shown that the Google is leaving this choice up to the webmaster’s choice. Google is not providing any tools for webmasters to find whether their site has a dangerous ratio of above-the-fold ads to content, but they recommend using other free Google tools like Browser Size from Google Labs to understand how much content is visible to users.
But, Google Itself Violating This Already!
Joann Pan from Mashable says ” Google, though, is already coming under fire for the changes. Some say its own site sometimes favors ad results. One example — see the video below — shows how a search for “Blu-Ray DVDs” turns up sidebar links to stores, supported personalized ads, shopping results, plus advertisement links that deflect from real content that users may be looking for”