Do you shove lots of ads at the top of your web pages? Think again. Tired of doing a Google search and landing on these types of pages? Rejoice. Google has announced that it will penalize sites with pages that are top-heavy with ads.
Top Heavy With Ads? Look Out!
The change — called the “page layout algorithm” — takes direct aim at any site with pages where content is buried under tons of ads.
From Google’s post on its Inside Search blog today:
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.
Google also posted the same information to its Google Webmaster Central blog.
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, Google told me.
It's a good thing for less annoying banners, but why would Google do it with AdSense if it would lower CTR on a lot of sites? They probably won't. Besides, Google puts their ads on top of search results so it seems hypocritical of them.
Certain locations tend to be more successful than others. This "heat map" illustrates the ideal placing on a sample page layout. The colors fade from dark orange (strongest performance) to light yellow (weakest performance). All other things being equal, ads located above the fold tend to perform better than those below the fold. Ads placed near rich content and navigational aids usually do well because users are focused on those areas of a page.
Read more: Where to place Google ads on my pages - AdSense Help
I am sure that as google gets tons of feedback, that they will include adsense, seeing as how that is the biggest offender of too many ads above the fold.
But will be interesting for google if they will change their too many ads above the fold on search.
I guess that the Primary Content in the heat map is ideally a PayPal content access button? Ha ha, just joking.
Text/Link Ads from Adsense aren't particularly annoying IMO, but the image Ads should probably be kept to the sides.
Ads in the header seem to be a waste of above-the fold real-estate.
It appears to me that they are going after the spammy ad sites as well as many MFA sites that have nothing above the fold except a few large blocks of ads. You have to scroll down to see the content.
The majority of these site that I have run into are using AdSense. They do not comply with the heat map layout because there is no header. The only thing that you see that is above the fold is ads.
It is also interesting to note that Google is now officially calling this a penalty, after denials that penalties existed for the past few years.
"Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote." -- Benjamin Franklin
Great news. I'm tired of those sites that have the ads on top, and start with real content 1km further to the south ("real content" - few BS sentences).