Matt Cutts has announced details of a recent Google algorithm change, that penalises sites that are top heavy with advertisements. This is the latest in a series of similar updates, and while the two previous changes have affected only a small number of websites, the search giant has not yet revealed the precise details of sites that will be affected. However, Cutts said “sites that don’t have much content “above-the-fold” can be affected by this change.”
Website owners are encouraged to ensure that valuable and useful content is placed above the fold of their websites. Doing so ensures that visitors are quickly presented with the information that they are looking for, without having to scroll far down the page. While some visitors will be willing to take the leap and hunt for content, many will simply close a page if they are not presented with what they want straight away.
Google has reiterated this point, specifically in the shape of an algorithm update. In their never ending bid to ensure that pages in search results provide a high quality experience, Google has updated its Top Heavy algorithm.
Sites that approach ad placement sensibly will not be affected. Ads above the fold typically have a good click rate, and they can be used to help monetise a website effectively and efficiently. However, Google say that websites that are packed full of advertising or have little or no valuable content above the fold are damaging the website experience and sites will be penalised, as a result.
Some webmasters have questioned whether this change will affect sites that utilise top sliders and large image displays. Such design features have become a staple part of the modern web layout, but they too, theoretically at least, contravene the guidelines regarding thin content at the top of the page organises apps on a user’s home screen.