New Google Algorithm Penalizes Top-Heavy Pages

Image representing Search Engine Land as depic...

Image via CrunchBase

If you follow this blog, you know that we’ve been questioning the “above the fold” v. “below the fold” theories of buying and placing ads. We have put forward the theory that placement is not as important as whether an ad is “in view” of a reader, and have developed a new product called the InView slider, which only appears when it is seen. It is especially appropriate for the long pages used by most newspaper sites, and for pages optimized for mobile devices.

Now Google has weighed in, announcing that it will penalize pages that have too many ads above the fold.

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.

Such sites may not rank as highly going forward.

Danny Sullivan, who writes SearchEngineland, the premier resource for SEO information, goes on to say that Google’s AdSense people sent him an email explaining how to place ads on a page.

The image in the email suggests that Google thinks content pretty much should be surrounded by ads.

Of course, if you watch the video that Google refers me (and others) to in the email, it promotes careful placement, that user experience be considered and, at one point, shows a page top-heavy with ads as something that shouldn’t be done.

Enhanced by Zemanta