Google’s New Page Layout Algorithm

Google has rolled out yet another change to their beloved search engine. Google’s new page layout algorithm is an update that affects web sites that are ad heavy and place too many ads above-the-fold. Matt Cutts announced the change via the official Google webmaster blog. He says they aim to help users find more high-quality websites in search results. The new algorithmic change analyzes a pages layout and checks how much content is on the page.

The reason behind this change is the internet based company wants to provide searchers with a better user experience. They receive many complaints from users telling them it is hard for them to tell which is content and which is an advertisement. Many webmasters know how to place ads where they can trick people into clicking ads to make more money. This is the type of behavior Google wants to eliminate. They want you to put users first when you decide on advertisement locations on your sites.

How does this affect webmasters?

If you have an ad-heavy site with many Google ads placed above-the-fold, then you might get penalized in search engine rankings. And if you heavily abuse ad placements using trickery to gain ad-clicks or place very little content on the page, you may find yourself banned from the Google Adsense program. If you use one of those High CTR WordPress themes, it’s time to find a better theme that is more focused on user engagement.

People want to see your content as soon as they arrive on your page without having to scroll below the fold. If what they see when they first visit your page is a bunch of different advertisements, that’s a no-no. Matt Cutts explains that these type of sites will not rank well in search results going forward with their new change.

If you have an ad visible above the fold in a normal way, it is ok. They are saying those sites that place an excessive amount of ads with no content above the fold will be affected by the change. Or those sites that make it difficult for users to find their true content with sneaky ad placements will be affected.

Matt Cutts goes on to say “If you decide to update your page layout, the page layout algorithm will automatically reflect the changes as we re-crawl and process enough pages from your site to assess the changes.” So, if you have an ad-heavy site that has been affected by the new changes and you change your layout to improve user experience then you may get your search engine ranking placement back. And finally Matt says “This change is just one of the over 500 improvements we expect to roll out to search this year.” So on a final note…from here on forward, make your website about “user experience” and your rankings should stay intact.

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