Google has introduced again a new algorithm change, “page layout algorithm”. The new change is aimed for penalizing sites that are too heavily loaded with ads.
“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.”
This change doesn’t impact on sites that are using pop-ups, pop-unders or overlay ads; it only applies to static ads in fixed positions on pages themselves.
How do you know what is too much?
According to Matt Cutts, the head of Google’s web spam team, Google won’t be offering any kinds of tools to tell if you have too much ads or not. Google is encouraging people to make use of e.g. its Google Browser Size tool to understand how much page’s content compared to ads is visible to visitors under various screen resolutions at first glance when they open the page.
Google’s blog post addresses though, that the change should only hit pages that have abnormally large number of ads above-the-fold (compared to the web as a whole). And according to Cutts again, the change will impact less that 1 % of Google’s searches globally.
So if you have little or no content showing above the fold for commonly-used screen resolutions, I would advice you to fix your site, just in case. And do it fast, the change has already started going into effect.