Google has surprised us again – all the websites that are top-heavy with ads will be penalized! This new algorithm is called “page layout algorithm”. The reason that this algorithm is published is because users want to see the content right away, rather than tons of ads that only spoil the experience of the user.
If your website doesn’t have much content “above-the-fold” can be affected by this change. If you click on a website and the part of the website you see first either doesn’t have a lot of visible content above-the-fold or dedicates a large fraction of the site’s initial screen real estate to ads, that’s not a very good user experience. Sites using pop-ups, pop-unders or overlay ads are not impacted by this. It only applies to static ads in fixed positions on pages themselves.
The Statement From Google
Perhaps it will be clearer to you what Google is doing and why when you read their official statement:
“We’ve heard complaints from users that if they click on a result and it’s difficult to find the actual content, they aren’t happy with the experience. Rather than scrolling down the page past a slew of ads, users want to see content right away.
So sites that don’t have much content “above-the-fold” can be affected by this change. If you click on a website and the part of the website you see first either doesn’t have a lot of visible content above-the-fold or dedicates a large fraction of the site’s initial screen real estate to ads, that’s not a very good user experience.”
When Is Time To Stop?
Even though Google doesn’t want too many ads, the question is what is actually too much? The general recommendation is to use Google Browser Size tool or similar tools to understand the exact formula that works for you. The good news is that this algorithm may affect only the websites with abnormally large number of ads, so there is no need to panic.
Placing ads above-the-fold is common for many websites, since it is a way for publishers to monetize online content. Using the ads to a normal degree is understandable, so these sites will be protected during these changes. You need to understand that users visit your website because they want to read something that interests them, so it is up to you to provide quality content for them.
Who Will Be Affected?
If you are not sure the way it will affect your site, you will know what to expect in a very short period of time when the update will show its full effect. You should know that less than 1% of Google’s searches will be under the impact.
Even if you fix your ads, you should know that the penalty won’t immediately lift. You will need to wait couple of weeks before you can see some changes. If you decide to update your page layout, the page layout algorithm will automatically reflect the changes as Google re-crawl and process enough pages from your site to assess the changes. The time it will take to process the changes will depend on different factors. The number of pages on your site and how efficiently Googlebot can crawl the content are two of these factors. It will usually take few weeks for Googlebot to crawl and process enough pages to reflect layout changes on the site.
Ironically, Google AdSense Pushes Ads, which only contribute to the overall confusion, but if you pay more attention it recommends careful ad placement.
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