Google changes its algorithm to punish Website publishers who dump loads of ads at the top of their Web pages to make more money at the expense of exposing visitors to their content.
Google Jan. 19
said it has altered its search algorithm to help weed out Web pages that are
top heavy with ads and make content harder to find by pushing farther down on
The move is
designed to curb the practice of loading the top of Web pages-the section that
is known as "above the fold-with ads to increase the likelihood users will
click on them so that Website publishers increase their chances for making
penalty of such ad-happy Websites harkens back to the search engine's February 2011 Panda algorithm change
punishing content farms for publishing low-quality content, or copying content
from other Websites.
Distinguished Engineer Matt Cutts said the algorithm tweak looks at the layout
of a Web page and the amount of content a user sees on the page once they've
clicked on a search result.
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," Cutts explained in a corporate blog post
"Such sites may not rank as highly going forward."
careful to note that Google recognizes ads placed above the fold perform well
for Websites. Accordingly, Google isn't punishing Websites that place ads at
the top of Web pages "to a normal degree."
Rather, he and
his team are penalizing Websites that put what they deem an "excessive"
amount of ads up top, or simply make it hard to find content on the page.
To wit, he
estimated the change would impact less than 1 percent of searches to Google.com
worldwide. He recommended Website publishers concerned that their Website has
been adversely affected by the algorithm change could use Google's
Browser Size tool
to view their Website in different screen
Danny Sullivan offered plenty more detail on this page
layout algorithm, including some clarifications by Cutts.
has traditionally been secretive about its search changes, has been on a
mission to disclose more information than the more than 500 algorithm changes
it makes each year.
each month publishes a list of some of the top changes it makes, and reported making roughly 30 changes in December alone
disclosing the changes in the face of the Federal Trade Commission's antitrust
investigation into its core business. The European Commission is also