On Tuesday, Google’s Matt Cutts announced that Google has launched another update to its Page Layout algorithm. The algorithm essentially aims to surface relevant pages that have a substantial amount of content “above the fold”.
Google doesn’t want to point users towards content that they have to scroll down to find. They want you to get to what you’re looking for as quickly as possible. If you and a competitor both have equally relevant content, but your competitor has it closer to the top of the page, and the user has to scroll down on yours to find it, chances are Google will give the edge to your competitor. That is if the Page Layout algorithm is doing its job. Of course, there more than 200 other signals that Google takes into account, so it’s entirely possible that if you are doing other things better than your competitor your page would still rank higher.
Matt Cutts said “As mentioned previously, we have 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,” Cutts wrote. “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.”
“We understand that placing ads above-the-fold is quite common for many websites; these ads often perform well and help publishers monetise online content,” he continued. “This algorithmic change does not affect sites who place ads above-the-fold to a normal degree, but affects sites that go much further to load the top of the page with ads to an excessive degree or that make it hard to find the actual original content on the page. This new algorithmic improvement tends to impact sites where there is only a small amount of visible content above-the-fold or relevant content is persistently pushed down by large blocks of ads.”
Bit like Google results, with ads placed above “genuine” results, but then that’s how Google makes loads of cash by advertisments top, side and bottom of each page of results. Weird how it’s OK for them to stuff their pages full of ads but penalise website owners for doing the same thing. Then Google rules, OK!
Personally I find Yahoo & Bing return more accurate results now! Google are going too far, but the public are tied into Google now, so we have no choice anymore, even TV dramas say “Google it” what chance Yahoo & Bing? Google get’s free ads from TV!