Google Updates Its Page Layout Algorithm To Go After Sites “Top Heavy” With Ads
Matt Cutts, Google’s head of search spam, recently announced that Google has released a refresh of its Page Layout Algorithm.
Also called Top Heavy Algorithm, the filter downgrades the ranking of web pages considered ‘too distracting’ for users. For instance, web pages with too many ads at the top.
Cutts confirmed the matter through his tweet. The algorithm was refreshed last February 6, Thursday.
SEO folks: we recently launched a refresh of this algorithm: https://t.co/KKSXm8FqZW Visible to outside world on ~Feb. 6th.
— Matt Cutts (@mattcutts) February 10, 2014
Cutts was the third person to give an update on Top Heavy Algorithm. The full release schedules are as follows:
- Top Heavy 1: Jan. 19, 2012 (impacted less than 1% of English searches)
- Top Heavy 2: Oct. 9, 2012 (impacted 0.7% of English searches)
- Top Heavy 3: Feb. 6, 2014 (impact not stated)
Background On & Recovering From Top Heavy:
If you’re wondering what the page layout is all about, here’s what Google has to say:
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.
You can read our original article for when Top Heavy was first released if you want advice on how to restore rankings. A site that is caught may have to wait for the next release for any changes.
The small number of complaints within the SEO community regarding the update suggests fewer sites were affected – compared to when Google updates other filters such as Penguin and Panda algorithms.