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This 322 message thread spans 11 pages: < < 322 ( 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 [9] 10 11 > >     
Matt Cutts Announces "Above The Fold" Algorithm Launch
tedster




msg:4408781
 11:48 pm on Jan 19, 2012 (gmt 0)

In our ongoing effort to help you find more high-quality websites in search results, today [19 January] we're launching an algorithmic change that looks at the layout of a web page and the amount of content you see on the page once you click on a result...

This algorithmic change noticeably affects less than 1% of searches globally. That means that in less than one in 100 searches, a typical user might notice a reordering of results on the search page.

- Matt Cutts

[insidesearch.blogspot.com...]

 

anteck




msg:4419853
 4:09 am on Feb 21, 2012 (gmt 0)

I have quite a few small sites with 336x280 adsense units running near the top - they haven't been affected at all. Meanwhile, one site that was ranking well dropped out with a 300x250 ad unit on the top right of the page. I took away the ad unit a month ago, and nothing has changed. I'd say the algo's broken - clearly isn't working as they 'say' it should be.

steve8383




msg:4419872
 4:53 am on Feb 21, 2012 (gmt 0)

Have to agree with that Anteck, that the algo cant be working properly. As mentioned before my site is not ad heavy at all yet I got penalised.

I'm only seeing the penalty in google.com though, my rankings in .co.uk and .ca are just as they were before Jan 19. Normally they push the algo to the 'lesser' tld's quicker than this don't they?

graeme_p




msg:4419956
 1:44 pm on Feb 21, 2012 (gmt 0)

@steve, my site is not ad heavy and I lost the same day as well - on most page only one above the fold ad (admittedly a 336x280) and Vibrant and another ad below the content.

I think something else happened at the same time. What I am seeing is gains by large, multi-topic sites over smaller niche sites. Perhaps you do not have many of those sorts of competitors in the UK and Canada?

potentialgeek




msg:4420071
 5:13 pm on Feb 21, 2012 (gmt 0)

This thread is weak and wastes time without (redacted) screenshots of penalized sites.

guggi2000




msg:4423081
 12:56 pm on Feb 29, 2012 (gmt 0)

Any recovery for anyone? (Recovery must be around 30-40%, equals one ranking level in the SERP)

alika




msg:4424560
 6:01 pm on Mar 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

@potentialgeek -- I'm putting in here a redacted image of one of my sites where traffic nosedived around Jan. 20

[img85.imageshack.us...]

It occasionally has a 468x60 banner ad
It has an Adsense leaderboard
It has an Adsense rectangle
It has Kontera in text links
No popups or popunders

For the life of me, I don't know what to change. Is Google really against leaderboards? Because I see a lot of sites with leaderboards, and remain untouched with the above the fold algorithm.

Do the ads really push down the content? I don't think so.

It's a site that has 98% original content (with 1-2 article submission)

BillyS




msg:4424565
 6:57 pm on Mar 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

For the life of me, I don't know what to change. Is Google really against leaderboards? Because I see a lot of sites with leaderboards, and remain untouched with the above the fold algorithm.


If you're asking what to change I would suggest lowering the ads on the page from 90% to something a bit more reasonable. This site fits the EXACT profile of one that I would think is being targeted by Panda.

Just because someone else has leaderboards doesn't mean it's okay for you to load up your site.

Leosghost




msg:4424570
 7:13 pm on Mar 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

I agree with BillyS
This site fits the EXACT profile of one that I would think is being targeted by Panda.


Too many ads..above the fold ..( and images which add nothing to "content" <= which is in many cases designed merely to pull in "money phrase" adsense ads ) been saying this here for a year now..but
[phrases.org.uk...]

It isn't about "pushing down" content..it is about "genuinely useful content for the visitor compared to ads ratio"( both above the fold, and in total on the page )..if it looks like an MFA to a visitor..( especially on a smartphone or in "preview" ) it probably will to Google..

alika




msg:4424575
 7:42 pm on Mar 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

Load up the site?

This is what I can't understand. One leaderboard is already loading up the site?

Does content mean only words? The image is a featured article. Does that mean that sites with sliders or featured articles not allowed?

deadsea




msg:4424576
 7:47 pm on Mar 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

alika: It isn't so much about reducing ads, its about moving the content above the fold. If that "open" image is on more than one page, I don't believe that googlebot would see it as content. The header is almost all white space. The "open" image isn't really content. You have about the same amount of content above the fold as ads. Reduce the white space and move the content up, then you should be fine.

alika




msg:4424594
 10:39 pm on Mar 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

@deadsea -- The featured content with the image is ONLY on the homepage. All the other pages only have that header + leaderboard + sidebar, then the articles

So my take aways from what you're saying are:

a. Leaderboards are evil -- even if your site only has a leaderboard, you're toast (never mind the fact that many sites still thrive even with leaderboards + banners + buttons and what have you above the fold)

b. Images are not content. Only text is content

c. Stay away from web designs or wordpress themes that offer those sliding features or featured content as (b) images are not content

I am using a Wordpress theme that uses this featured content box highlighted by an image. I just used the theme out of the box. The image is not designed
to pull in "money phrase" adsense ads
as the ads are based on what the articles on the site are.

Good thing this site does not really depend on Google for traffic.

Leosghost




msg:4424598
 11:03 pm on Mar 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

I didnt mean the image by itself ..( is its "alt text" and description matched and or complementary to the content ? ) was designed to pull in "money term" adsense..the text content probably is..and the very "stock" looking image probably adds nothing..

Sorry alika..but you did ask..and it looks like an MFA..the image reminds me of those images used on the parked domain templates that sedo run..G probably disregard it..

But as deadsea says ..you have as much pixel space used by ads ( IMO you have more pixels used by adsense than content text )..If G treat the image as white space..and if the graphic banner is taken as white space..the adsense uses over twice the space of the what remains ie; the "text content"..

Images can obviously be content..but some just look like "stock" vaguely related to the subject, space filler..

The layout says that you want the visitor to think .."nothing to see or read of any real value here ..certainly don't scroll down" ) "just click an adsense link here at the top as soon as you can, and make me some money"..

There are millions of pages like this out there..why would G rank them high ?..those it still does are the "blips"..no doubt it will get around to demoting them too..

There are plenty of posts here at WebmasterWorld by members who have removed an adsense block from a page and seen their earnings rise ..I suggest you think about those posts..

ken_b




msg:4424616
 12:25 am on Mar 4, 2012 (gmt 0)

Seems to me that somehwre since this struck I read/heard of a post/video by MC where he held up a 8.5x11 sheet of paper and one/two of those 3 inch square post it notes to illustrate the acceptable ATF ads/content ratio.

Anyone else recall that, or something like it?

(I'm getting old, might have been my imagination. :)

That said....

Alika, on that image you linked to, other than the image, is the only ATF content the 4 lines immediately below the image and 4 0r 5 lines squeezed between the ads to the right of the image?

If so, some of that ad space may need to be replaced by real content.

.

ken_b




msg:4424617
 12:41 am on Mar 4, 2012 (gmt 0)

This is what I can't understand. One leaderboard is already loading up the site?

Probably not, but ad location might be the issue.

If that leader board were above or next to the logo the page would look a lot different. It would make the whole page look more cohesive.
Logo
Nav Bar
Image
Text Content
Then move that 250x250 down so the top lines up with the bottom of the image and fill the newly vacant space with more text content, even more cohesive.

The idea is to tie the content together more tightly so as to make it the focus of the page.
.

Leosghost




msg:4424619
 12:49 am on Mar 4, 2012 (gmt 0)

Seems to me that somehwre since this struck I read/heard of a post/video by MC where he held up a 8.5x11 sheet of paper and one/two of those 3 inch square post it notes to illustrate the acceptable ATF ads/content ratio.

Anyone else recall that, or something like it?


IIRC it was reported ( somewhere here in WebmasterWorld ) as something he did at pubcon ..09 November 2011..

Danny and Barry have both mentioned Matt being quite specific about "above the fold" and what was "to think about" at the time..

[searchengineland.com...]

Much more detail from Google about "above the fold" mentioned here.. [searchengineland.com...]

ken_b




msg:4424621
 12:58 am on Mar 4, 2012 (gmt 0)

Leosghost; Thanks.

deadsea




msg:4424680
 9:29 am on Mar 4, 2012 (gmt 0)

Based on what others have reported here, images can certainly be counted as content. But it is also clear that Google is discounting boilerplate. So if you are using stock images, or use the same image on multiple pages, I wouldn't count on Googlebot seeing it as content.

alika




msg:4424690
 11:18 am on Mar 4, 2012 (gmt 0)

is its "alt text" and description matched and or complementary to the content


It MATCHES the content exactly. Let me just say that Adsense has been good in matching its ads to the overall topic of the site. The image is not just a ploy to get Adsense to show those keywords

So if you are using stock images, or use the same image on multiple pages


I spend a lot on stock images to find one that MATCHES the content

Understand though that that is just the homepage. All the inside pages have the article start immediately after the leaderboard. I may have an image for each article, but it comes about 4-5 paragraphs within the content

This site fits the EXACT profile of one that I would think is being targeted by Panda.


Good thing Google has a VASTLY different idea of what should be penalized by Panda or not, as this site was never Pandalized.

Goodroi in the earlier pages of this thread defined sites to be affected by the above the fold as:

The Google announcement seems to be very clear that this is for extreme websites. We have all seen sites that are 90% ads and try to trick users into thinking adsense links are content links. Why would we want Google to reward these sites?


That featured image is just on the homepage, so I'll never think that the site is one of the "extreme websites" I've seen worse sites

Leosghost




msg:4424716
 3:04 pm on Mar 4, 2012 (gmt 0)

We've all seen worse sites..but if they are not yours , then you are not directly concerned or affected if they rank well or if they don't..

Meanwhile.. as I posted at #4424570

[phrases.org.uk...]

You've had good advice from some of us ..upto you whether you take it in and "adjust" your layout etc..or keep the same layout etc and "nosedived" traffic..

Panda hasn't finished running ( and may well run in waves for a long time to come ) so then fact that you were apparently not hit by it 'til now ..does not mean that Google agrees with you about your above the fold layout..your recent traffic loss would tend to suggest that they disagree strongly with you ..and reading what they say about above the fold layout would appear to explain why ..

alika




msg:4424721
 3:51 pm on Mar 4, 2012 (gmt 0)

I have changed the layout of the site:

- used a different wordpress theme; went with a different vendor
- placed the leaderboard by the site logo
- used a featured articles slider where it's half image/half content to address the previous issue where the slider before simply showed the big image (plus, it was more expensive to buy stock images of that size)

For me, it's just interesting to see huge declarations as if people know EXACTLY what sites gets hit by Panda or not
This site fits the EXACT profile of one that I would think is being targeted by Panda.

BillyS




msg:4424722
 3:55 pm on Mar 4, 2012 (gmt 0)

That featured image is just on the homepage, so I'll never think that the site is one of the "extreme websites" I've seen worse sites

I don't know why you're so concerned about other sites, you posted a picture of your site. Just because someone else does it doesn't make it right, especially if the practice comes with a potential penalty.

netmeg




msg:4424730
 4:45 pm on Mar 4, 2012 (gmt 0)

When I looked at that screenshot, the first thing that jumped out at me was ads. I had to hunt for where the content was, and the image wasn't immediately obvious as not being an ad. You have about two seconds to make an impression on a visitor who hits your page, and that's the impression that screenshot made.

When I go to a site, I want whatever it's about to hit me first. THEN the ads. If it doesn't work that way, I have already categorized that site a certain way in mind - whether or not I stay on it. I suspect Google is doing something similar.

Thaparian




msg:4425535
 12:42 pm on Mar 6, 2012 (gmt 0)

45+ days, anybody recovered yet? How much long is it going to take...frustrated

deadsea




msg:4425553
 1:03 pm on Mar 6, 2012 (gmt 0)

After a month of minimal ads and no recovery, I put ads back. Its better to be down 30% in traffic than down 30% in traffic and an additional 50% in revenue. I did do a bunch a layout changes to highlight that my site has text content. I reduced white space above the fold, and moved lot of text up above the fold. The interesting thing is that my eCPM is higher now than it was before Jan 18th and my engagement is higher too. It turns out that this algo change prompted me to make changes that are better for my users. My site is better for it, even if I'm still down in traffic.

FrostyMug




msg:4425698
 7:58 pm on Mar 6, 2012 (gmt 0)

still no recovery here.

I thought about adding back a leader board ad, but I still think I'll see recovery so I didn't make any changes after the ad clean-up.

BUT... If others report recovery and I'm not recovered, I will definitely strongly think about adding some ads back.

edit: I do think the changes I made are better for my users. I see the site being stickier than before and since a lot of ads that never got a lot of clicks are gone, the CPC is fantastic. But again, earnings are 1/2 of what they were.

RibaRiva




msg:4425913
 9:12 am on Mar 7, 2012 (gmt 0)

I removed the top leaderboard ad on all my pages on February 7. I continued to slip badly throughout most of February (on some days my traffic was down 20% compared to last year) but now the tide has turned since this past weekend. I'm within spitting distance of last year's numbers which is good. Normally I go up 30% per year on this site and that growth rate seems to have stagnated so now I'm looking at other factors related to "thin" content.

guggi2000




msg:4429694
 8:25 pm on Mar 15, 2012 (gmt 0)

Asking again after almost 2 months: Has anyone seen a recovery?

Thaparian




msg:4430969
 6:57 pm on Mar 19, 2012 (gmt 0)

No signs of recovery, still losing rankings. I was #1 for a long time with site links, now #4. However I still have site links.

guggi2000




msg:4435846
 1:30 pm on Apr 1, 2012 (gmt 0)

Asking again: Has anyone recovered from the page layout algorithm?

72 days have passed since then, removed the ads below the fold 70 days ago. No effect yet.

onebuyone




msg:4435852
 2:36 pm on Apr 1, 2012 (gmt 0)

guggi2000 it's impossible to answer your question, because there was many updates rolled out in last month and also there was panda refresh.

deadsea




msg:4435855
 2:53 pm on Apr 1, 2012 (gmt 0)

I was hoping for a recovery even after putting the ads back they way they were because I was able to re-arrange the layout to put more content above the fold with the ads.

Nothing has recovered.

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