homepage Welcome to WebmasterWorld Guest from
register, free tools, login, search, pro membership, help, library, announcements, recent posts, open posts,
Become a Pro Member

Home / Forums Index / Google / Google SEO News and Discussion
Forum Library, Charter, Moderators: Robert Charlton & aakk9999 & brotherhood of lan & goodroi

Google SEO News and Discussion Forum

This 91 message thread spans 4 pages: 91 ( [1] 2 3 4 > >     
Pubcon info: Content/Ads position is becoming a ranking factor

 5:24 pm on Nov 10, 2011 (gmt 0)

Google announced In Pubcon that Content/Ads position on a certain page is going to be a factor in ranking.
First off, hasn't Panda already addressed this issue.
2nd. Looking at Google Search page most of the results are under fold while the ads positioned above and colors are merged.

3rd. Adsense keep asking to put more ads on a page.

4th. To what extent this is a factor? 10%? 20%?

5th. Why 2M traffic site/brands with premium accounts can select variety of ad formats while others don't have that option.
Is it a fair play?

[edited by: Zivush at 6:16 pm (utc) on Nov 10, 2011]



 5:57 pm on Nov 10, 2011 (gmt 0)

When Google starts to take actions that deliberately impact the ability of webmasters to earn, things are going to get ugly.

I think many webmasters will simply opt to start cloaking and hide some of those ads from the search engines. Show one or two ads to search engines not look too suspicious and then bomb the user with a barrage of ads.


 6:29 pm on Nov 10, 2011 (gmt 0)

There are certain conventions in ad placement, which you see on most major websites, e.g., leaderboards, 300x250 top right. I doubt Google would penalize those sites. It's more likely targeting the aggressive Adsense sites, e.g., two ad blocks stacked at the top of pages before content. They are usually good signals of bad quality sites (Made for Adsense).


 6:35 pm on Nov 10, 2011 (gmt 0)

Some of Cutts exact quotes:

"...what are the things that really matter, how much content is above the fold..."

"...If you have ads obscuring your content, you might want to think about it..."

"...Do they see content or something else thatís distracting or annoying..."

I think this means ads are only a problem if they dominant above-fold real-estate but he is very vague.

Cutts could have created a PR nightmare with this one and the adsense staff could string him up when he gets back to San Jose...hopefully he clarifies 'how to be a good advertiser'.


 6:40 pm on Nov 10, 2011 (gmt 0)

Another important quote from MC referring to ads

"...it's not a direct ranking factor in Panda."

There's a lot in that statement if you unpack it, because it implies that it is an indirect or emergent factor in Panda -- that while Panda isn't actually measuring the percentage of ads directly, it is measuring things (presumably behavioral metrics) that might be impacted by ad positioning.


 7:26 pm on Nov 10, 2011 (gmt 0)

I think we should not lose site of undercurrents in all this. Who thinks Microsoft will be unveiling an adsense like program? *raises hand*. With that in mind, there is more to this than what's best for the site visitor. After, it's highly hypocritical isn't it to indicate ads affecting your organic ranking if it's being done to ensure quality sites. In that respect Google should be feeling odd about saying how bad ads are above the fold when it's their bread and butter. So they are suggesting that visitors to the Google search results are getting less quality because of the expanding ad space?

Regardless, this is a story with an end not told. Could M$ say anything such as people not willing to use their ads for fear of reduced organic traffic in Google? Who has removed ads since Panda? *raises hand*.

I still say it's fine for Google to use the ads space vs. content space in the algo. I think it's safe to say that most content farms need those ads to make their ventures worthwhile.


 7:53 pm on Nov 10, 2011 (gmt 0)

"Google announced In Pubcon that Content/Ads position on a certain page is going to be a factor in ranking."

I have a hard time believing that. So paid links on a certain page will also be a ranking factor? Or only ads delivered by Google?

Ok I just read about and its is basically: if you have to many ads on a page and the ads make content difficult to read or find, it CAN have a NEGATIVE impact on rankings..

[edited by: Rlilly at 8:08 pm (utc) on Nov 10, 2011]


 8:07 pm on Nov 10, 2011 (gmt 0)

I actually have no problem with penalizing a site for too many ads...it is an endemic problem. But google has to be fair and put forth clear/objective guidelines that let you know what is allowable and what is not. We don't have that here... Does this mean too many sidebar ads? 34.547% of above-fold real estate on X resolution is taken up by ads = penalty? Too many in-content ads? Too many popup ads? Do 5 text links that take less room than one skyscraper hurt you more or less? Does dead-space hurt here (penalty could be more about lack of organic content above-fold)? If google comes up with objective guidelines that clearly lets you know if you do X with your ads within y boundaries, you're ok, then I'm fine with this policy.


 8:09 pm on Nov 10, 2011 (gmt 0)

Thanks for the update.

Ignoring that Google are the worst sinners in this regard (some SERPs have more ads than organic results), I think the idea that *too many* ads (to the point of a worse user experience) can result in a downgrade is a good one. I just wish Google would play by their own rules.


 10:23 pm on Nov 10, 2011 (gmt 0)

Good Solution recommended by incrediBILL.

I use that now. I use an Adserver and depending on the referrer I change my ad's.

Different Ad types work for different traffic.

Whether it's Direct Traffic, Facebook, Google Organic or Specific Site Seferral. My ads don't look the same for each user, browsers, or bots "which of course I show no ads for bots, why waste an impression on bots"

My AdServer is hosted on another domain and give me java script code which Google and all other bots are banned from following using robot.txt. I also issue a request denied from all Non Browsers traffic. "most Ad networks block other networks from indexing and caching their ads"

Google should only take my content into consideration when ranking, not the ad I show on my site.

using an Non Search Engine visible Domain using an Restrictive Adserver and Search Engine's wouldn't "and shouldn't" know if an ad is there or not "just Javascript".

With Openx you also have the ability to change JavaScript file name, so it look like any php file being call my JavaScript.


 11:18 pm on Nov 10, 2011 (gmt 0)

I think it's safe to say that most content farms need those ads to make their ventures worthwhile.

Right danged smack on target! Once people see the drivel and no ads to click they're gone....back button. Google has a good master plan even though I've been pandalized too...but the trees are becoming very visible to me. Next up the leaves then I'm free!


 11:19 pm on Nov 10, 2011 (gmt 0)

This is BS and Google need to get their own house in order before putting out more FUD to Webmasters. I call BS. This double-speak is really getting old, and the excuse that Matt C and the Adsense team don't even communicate needs to go away. They need a flipping intervention over there at the Plex.

Not on the fact that they are going to do it, they probably will, and no doubt need to... I call BS on the fact that if you go to Google Adsense and you listen to their optimization team, they are screaming... MORE ADS - MORE ADS. "Up to 3 units per page" Here's how to "Optimize" your ads, etc.

On the "Best Practices" page, ([google.com ]) they show a picture saying that pushing content below the fold is bad. The example of "best practice content" NOT below the fold is literally one single line of text from the paragraph, showing above the fold.

Its ridiculous... taking it at face value, they are telling us that its OK to push all but one sentence below the fold. They are layout guidelines for circumventing their own rules in another dept. Its tiring.

Google Adsense is saying: Place More Ads, in These Hot Spots.
Then the Other Google (MC) is Saying: We will Penalize You for Placing Ads.

Frustrating, and even more reason to drop all ads fed through the Google teat and accept direct advertising.

Disclaimer: We still use one Adsense block on our site, at the very bottom of the content, which will probably be their next target.


 11:34 pm on Nov 10, 2011 (gmt 0)

Google will never do anything that impacts their earnings in a nagative way. If pushing down sites with ads above the fold helps their revenue, they'll do it. If it hurts their revenue, they won't do it. If some of Google's employees think that they're bigger than the profit motive, Google will ease them out or promote them to public relations:-)


 11:49 pm on Nov 10, 2011 (gmt 0)

I would bet that actual CTR rather than placement would be the real measure. We run at 3 - 5% and we got the slap, we don't run ads on our product search pages either. I have a client who runs in the 15% range and he's still going strong. If ads were THE factor every webmaster forum on the web would have gone into gridlock by now.


 12:21 am on Nov 11, 2011 (gmt 0)

so this is why Google.com was demoted to PR9 in the latest update.

I think Google should be careful, if they keep it up, they will be banning themselves!


 12:36 am on Nov 11, 2011 (gmt 0)

Quote from Incredibill.......

"When Google starts to take actions that deliberately impact the ability of webmasters to earn, things are going to get ugly."

Then things got ugly in 2002.


 12:36 am on Nov 11, 2011 (gmt 0)

I would think everyone would be happy with that since they have user friendly web sites and it would only hurt their spammy competitors. No?


 2:50 am on Nov 11, 2011 (gmt 0)

Google will never do anything that impacts their earnings in a nagative way

I think they did with Panda because the AdSense team hit the panic button and started sending out emails to clients where the big money suddenly went POOF!

I know, I got one of those emails! ;)


 3:06 am on Nov 11, 2011 (gmt 0)

Google announced In Pubcon that Content/Ads position on a certain page is going to be a factor in ranking.

This has been in AdWords for long time now. Besides AdSense, they look in sort of same way into affiliate sites.


 4:07 am on Nov 11, 2011 (gmt 0)

Can someone get Matt and Adsense team to sit together and talk to each other? Matt is riding Ferrari while Adsense kids are on some old broken bicycle.

Billion dollar business and two team members are not talking together to solve the matter. As another member suggested people will start cloaking and that will be another era of spam.

I am amazed what Google is doing, their own homepage is a mess of Ads now they show you ads at the bottom of the page where you want to click "next page" every now and then you click the ad by mistake.

I wonder where all this will take Google.

Another thing a lot of great sites got hit and they didnt even have adsense.


 5:17 am on Nov 11, 2011 (gmt 0)

So youtube has

1) text ads obscuring content in the video frame itself.
2) video ads you can't skip that are "distracting or annoying".

Time to demote all youtube URLs in the serps to page 2.

Somebody needs to ninja kick this company in the butthole like really really hard.


 5:33 am on Nov 11, 2011 (gmt 0)


Did Cutts really say that? I must have zoned out or something at that stage. He did say that they he won't say what are the factors that are affecting Panda, implying that it may not just be on page factors, like we have speculated before. So nothing helpful there. But it is an algorithm, so if you sort out whatever it is then you should return. It also appears to be on a sliding scale.


 5:45 am on Nov 11, 2011 (gmt 0)

OP's first statement:
Google announced In Pubcon that Content/Ads position on a certain page is going to be a factor in ranking.

Not a very clear statement.

Here's part of a hypothetical multiple-choice handout from the session:

1. What ads are we talking about?

A). Non-Adsense ads
B). Adsense ads
C). All ads

2. What pages will be affected?

A). Home pages of all sites.
B). Pages on sites hosted in Ukraine.
C). Pages with purple backgrounds.
D). other: __________________

3. How will ranking be affected?

A). Pages with lots of non-Adsense ads rank lower.
B). Pages with (3) of the largest format Adsense ads in the 3 hottest Adsense "heat map" locations and no ads from any other sources will get higher rankings.

Answers: #1 is "C" , #2 - doesn't matter, see question 3, and #3 is a trick question, both "A" and "B" are correct

The Adsense Heat Map: [adsense.google.com...]


 9:30 am on Nov 11, 2011 (gmt 0)

Sorry to say so but I think that this discussion went to the wrong direction.
Although we make a living out of ads, I donít think that any pro webmaster is against the idea of less ads per page.
On the contrary! Who doesnít want his site to look like a princess bride?
We don't want to irritate readers. We all want the visitors visit our site again and again.

But by all means G Adsense, pay us more for less!
1. Encourage us to go for fewer ads, especially less mind-destructive ads.
2. Give us more ad format options and allow us to specify variable sizes and to select more text ads as opposed to image/text.

If Google is a partner and they are, they must offer us stable ground to go for less ads and stop threatening us with lower ranking.


 9:40 am on Nov 11, 2011 (gmt 0)

can some clarify where the fold is that they and google are talking about? because it depends on your screen resolution and how much you have showing in your top browser bars.


 12:14 pm on Nov 11, 2011 (gmt 0)

can some clarify where the fold is that they and google are talking about? because it depends on your screen resolution and how much you have showing in your top browser bars.

I believe the standard for 'above the fold' is still based on 1024 x 768 screen resolution. Somebody correct me if I'm wrong but that's what I've been using as a base.


 2:13 pm on Nov 11, 2011 (gmt 0)

santapaws...good question. In the heatmap link provided by lexipixel they do provide an 'above-fold' preview: [as-abovethefold.appspot.com...] in which the results are roughly 1000px high...not sure if this is accurate though.


 2:48 pm on Nov 11, 2011 (gmt 0)

I think they did with Panda because the AdSense team hit the panic button

Earnings shot up the next quarter, beat expectations, and if I recall, they did it despite poor page view growth on Google search pages. Panda made more money for Google overall.


 2:53 pm on Nov 11, 2011 (gmt 0)


Have you ever worked for a really big company? its possible that different parts of google ( a relatively small company) are working at cross purposes especially if different parts of the company have different metrics for hitting their targets.

Running a scraper like the veterans job board directly impacts googls defence against anti trust complaints from foundem etc I bet the people who launched this are not singing from the same hymn sheet.

Matt probaly doesn't have the political clout to have -ve projects stopped - he should do as the major threat to google is political.


 3:31 pm on Nov 11, 2011 (gmt 0)

First of all, there are definitely Cones of Non-Communication between the AdSense people and the Search people. Always have been. Matt (and other Google types) have admitted as much, and we've seen evidence of it. There are valid arguments for and against that, but it doesn't matter, because that's the policy and the culture, and we need to get over it.

Second of all, Google has always shown that they're willing to take a short term hit (on things like AdSense and AdWords) to get to a longterm gain. Always always always. Whether or not they actually get there, that may well be what they are going for. So yes, I believe them when they say it's possible to go overboard with AdSense to the point where it affects rankings.

The main thing is, stop trying to micro-analyze everything Google says, because Google deliberately says things that can never be pinned down to a single cohesive thought or action.

Instead you have to rely on your common sense. Every single one of us have seen sites that are so bloated with ads you have to hunt to find any content. Don't do it like that. If you have to take anything away from Google, take the "long term" attitude - it's better to give up a few pennies (or dollars) of ad revenue in order to keep a reasonable amount of your content above the fold and keep your users happy. Google will do what Google will do. You have no control over that; all you have control over is what YOU do. So just use your head.

And remember that it's *still* only one of a whole bunch of factors. Sites without any ads were pandalyzed, and some sites loaded with ads survived.

This 91 message thread spans 4 pages: 91 ( [1] 2 3 4 > >
Global Options:
 top home search open messages active posts  

Home / Forums Index / Google / Google SEO News and Discussion
rss feed

All trademarks and copyrights held by respective owners. Member comments are owned by the poster.
Home ¦ Free Tools ¦ Terms of Service ¦ Privacy Policy ¦ Report Problem ¦ About ¦ Library ¦ Newsletter
WebmasterWorld is a Developer Shed Community owned by Jim Boykin.
© Webmaster World 1996-2014 all rights reserved