Google Targets (Ad) Top Heavy Sites With Algorithm Update

Text too small, menu not clear enough…what is your pet hate with websites? We’ve all got something that we really dislike and it would seem Google are no different.

In (another) Google algorithm update released today we see that Google are targeting websites that have too many adverts in the instantly visible area of the page, otherwise known as ‘above the fold’.

This change has been given the catchy title ‘page layout algorithm’ and it is locking on to sites that deliberately bury their content under piles of adverts almost as big as the one residents of Brierley Hill are dwarfed by.

Click Less – Find More

This change is all about enhancing the user experience, Google want users to be able to find what they are looking for in as few clicks as possible. They aren’t saying that websites have to reduce the number of adverts displayed on the page only that the content needs to be near the top of the page so that visitors to the site do not have to scroll down to locate it.

It was also confirmed, by Google, that sites that use pop-ups and overlays will not be impacted by this change.

Are You Guilty?

So how do you know if your site is going to be one of those penalised? Affiliate sites owners should definitely sit up and take notice.

Unlike other changes no tools are being provided by Google to enable site owners to instantly determine if there site falls foul of the new changes. Instead they have suggested that people use the Google Browser Size tool or similar to determine just how much of a page’s content is visible at first glance, it obviously takes into consideration various screen resolutions.

What the tool won’t tell you are the all important factors how far down is too far and how many ads are too many? Google, kind people that they are, have decided to leave that to site owners to decide….give them enough rope eh!

Guilty – Send Them Down

Google have stated that the change will impact less than 1% of global searches on Google but what happens if you are affected and rankings begin to drop?

If you do start to see a drop in rank from today, it is likely to be the whole site that is penalised and not just the page that is ad heavy. Don’t panic just get the changes made and wait for Google to revisit the site. It will have been tagged as ad heavy initially and, unfortunately, it could be several weeks before the changes are noted by Google and normal service is resumed.

For more information read the official page layout algorithm update post in full.

One final thought regarding this change is how Google will apply this new benchmark to their own pages or if it will even apply at all? Its funny that you can’t test their pages with the Google Browser Size  tool to see just how their pages fair…..go on, try it you know you want to!