A recent announcement by Google has begun to make waves among the blogging community – especially those that are monetizing their properties and making an income via their blogs:
We understand that placing ads above-the-fold is quite common for many websites; these ads often perform well and help publishers monetize online content.
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.
The bottom-line here is that Google will start to penalize (reduce search engine results and ranking) those blogs and sites that really abuse their advertising channels above the fold. What is “above the fold” do you ask? It’s any content that your readers can see before they have to start scrolling down your blog.
The picture above shows what content the typical visitor can see when they encounter my blog.
Thankfully this will really affect only 1% of all search returns but you definitely don’t want to be in that mix (1 out of 100 searches essentially)!
How do you know if you may become a target (victim?) of this new algorithmic change? Here are some checks:
- Make sure that you showcase your content first and foremost! Content is king and is even more important that it is seen first!
- Make sure that the amount of advertisements that you have is reasonable and not ridiculously offensive in terms of quantity, especially above the fold.
- Make sure that the overall amount of advertisements on your blog isn’t excessive either. You know what I’m talking about as you intuitively know when a site has gone way above and beyond in their efforts to force advertisements down your throat. Don’t be like them!
If you feel like you need to change up your template or choose another WordPress Theme (I use Standard) then the algorithm will take these changes into account and you’ll just have to wait for the results to kick in, especially if you think you were subject to a penalty. You can easily check this, by the way, if you see a dramatic change of organic traffic via your Google Analytics or other analytics system.
Here are some tips directly via Google as well:
You should also try using the Browser Size Tool to see what your users may be seeing as well:
Take care and optimize!