Google’s Matt Cutts just recently announced an update for the Page Layout algorithm, which originally came out in January. This algorithm is designed to reward websites who place their content above their advertisements. In a tweet on the subject Matt Cutts mentioned that 0.7% of English language queries will be affected. This may seem like a small number but in reference to Google search it means a lot of people will have to change their website and search engine optimization.
When the Page Layout algorithm first launched google explained who it might affect: “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 offers a great tool to help you make sure your site is setup with in the guidelines of this new algorithm. It’s called the Browser-size Analysis tool in Google Analytics and it should help you figure out how much content vs. ads show up above the fold on your site for different browser sizes.
If you’ve been affected by this update Google says as long as you change your page layout and get your site re-crawled you should be all set. This process tends to take a long time, sometimes up to a few weeks depending on crawl frequency, so don’t be alarmed if your site doesn’t recover right away.
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