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|Page Layout Algorithm Update. 0.7% English Queries Affected|
And matt cutts just announced it on twitter: [twitter.com...]
[edited by: tedster at 7:14 pm (utc) on Oct 9, 2012]
[edit reason] make Twitter link clickable [/edit]
My site, which was very badly hit on January 19th, also partially recovered starting late on the 9th night UK time.
It looks to me that some part of the page layout algo is being less heavily weighted.
It also tells me that if I do not fully recover the problem is probably the page layout, so how does one optimise page layout? Any guidelines?
My site layout as a logo, one internal link and a search box all across the top. Below that is left nav with a 160x600 "wide skyscraper" ad beneath the (sparse) navigation, a 200x200 square ad on the right within the content, and a large rectangle ad at the bottom. COntent is immediately visible.
I have changed the advertising around over the course of the year, but I have never had more than three ad units (plus Vibrant ad links), one on each side and one at the bottom, and the above the fold ads have been wide skyscraper plus square although I have moved them about quite a bit.
graeme_p: what type of content do you have? Is it textual article content or something else?
It seems that sites that have been hit by this algorithm without excessive ads usually have image content or interactive content.
My content is entirely text articles.
So I have gone from little more than a quarter of the traffic I was getting this time last year to about half: a huge improvement, but a long way to go!
Personally, I would see 4 adverts as too many and evidently Google do too, in your case at least.
It's more than possible to earn equal and even more, with less ads. I'd definitely think about redesigning your page and having a max of 2 ads.
Now that I know I was hit by the ATF update, which actually appears to be more of a page layout, I need to figure out EXACTLY what Google wants.
With a full day of data from yesterday, it appears that my site was helped by this update as well. My site hasn't had much change seasonally for the last 3 years, so I can compare numbers from January until now.
January 18th: 100%
Last week: 52%
So yesterday was 40% better than last week, but not nearly enough to get me to January levels. I may have crawled out from under the page layout problem but there may be other things. It looks like my site had smaller (10 to 20% drops) around July 2nd and August 19th. I'll have to corellate those to other algorithm changes.
|If just we could get such detail about Panda |
My husband asked me this morning if I could have one questioned answered what would it be.
Guess what my question was. LOL.
We're totally ecommerce and have been slammed over and over by Google with no apparent reason. 15 years in business and totally white hat just doesn't seem to cut it.
|I may have crawled out from under the page layout problem but there may be other things. It looks like my site had smaller (10 to 20% drops) around July 2nd and August 19th. I'll have to corellate those to other algorithm changes. |
That would assume, that the AFT algo is all or nothing, which I highly doubt. I'm guessing the detection of ads has improved with this update and thus we've seen a push in a positive direction.
But perhaps there are still problems with our layout, at least from Googles point of view. This algo in particular, seems to expect a high proportion of textual content and when it doesn't find it, websites are scored lower.
What needs to happen, is this and all algorithms need to be relative to the rest of the niche and compare the website against it's competitors, not against industry standards.
After the January 19th update, I read several accounts of people with images or flash in prominent positions above the fold that had no problem. It looks like Google is attempting to take content other than text into account, and getting somewhat better at it with this update.
|Here's a useful quote from the Google blog article: |
If you decide to update your page layout, the page layout algorithm will automatically reflect the changes as we re-crawl and process enough pages from your site to assess the changes. How long that takes will depend on several factors, including the number of pages on your site and how efficiently Googlebot can crawl the content. On a typical website, it can take several weeks for Googlebot to crawl and process enough pages to reflect layout changes on the site.
Funnily enough, that piece of information was released alongside the ATF launch in January. However, despite tearing my pages apart and trying many many different designs, nothing had any effect.
But the update on the 9th, has had a big positive impact.
I think Matt's probably being honest, in that changing your layout can resolve the issue but I also think for many of us, we were fighting a losing battle, as the algo was taking more in to account, than just ads above the fold.
An educated guess would be, low textual content even a single advert, would trigger this in some cases. Perhaps also, their ad detection methods have gotten better in this most recent update.
|After the January 19th update, I read several accounts of people with images or flash in prominent positions above the fold that had no problem. It looks like Google is attempting to take content other than text into account, and getting somewhat better at it with this update. |
Yes, definitely. I'd love to be able to see, what they believe they see.
@realmaverick, note that when you say four ads, that means only one large ad (160*600) partially above the fold, and one small ad (200*200) above the fold plus ad links and another large ad right at the bottom of the page.
I wonder how this treats adlinks? They do not take up space, but some people find them annoying...
One of the sites that moved past me for my highest traffic generating search phrase has a LOT more advertising, and two of them have banner ads across the top, so both had more above the fold advertising than me. Both have a lot less content above the fold.
Furthermore, I recovered this week. The ads have been as they were before the January collapse since June.
I also tried reducing the ads and moving them around, even removing them altogether at one point, to no effect.
Given all that, and the recovery, I wonder whether there was some other factor that changed on the 19th Jan?
Yes they do. It depends on the keywords used.
|To be honest, ALL google ads are ALWAYS above-the-fold. They have never ran an ad that is below the content (search results). |
It appears this update has only been applied to English searches.
The site in question usually has more Indian traffic than US, as one of th major brands we support is huge in India.
Since the update to ATF, US traffic has sky rocketed. It's now the number 1 country. I'm guessing the update will be rolled out to foreign search engines in the near future and those of us "in recovery", will continue to see traffic return.
That could explain why my site isn't fully recovered, US is my strongest country, but I get lots from India, UK, and Australia as well.
Just checked my US traffic vs pre ATF (January) traffic and its now exactly the same as what it was.
However Indian traffic is still at 50%. I have a strong feeling this entire update is yet to roll in many foreign countries.
How long is anybodies guess. Humph!
What has changed? Is Google now emphasising above the fold more, and total number of ads less? Perhaps the resolution at which this is measured (or weighting between different resolutions has changed)? Perhaps they have just reduced the effect for sites with fewer ads, so it now focuses on ads with a lot above the fold?
Our traffic jumped up by 20% on October 9, but looking back at the data I really don't think we were penalized by the first ATF algo on Janary 19 - our traffic was down about 10% on the 19, 20 and 21, but then back to normal the week after, until panda 3.5.
Is it possible there's also a positive boost effect?
1 to 2 weeks before this update we actually changed our layout a bit - widening the site from 700 to 750px, and shortening from 151 to 135px the image header that runs across the entire top of the page, which framed the logo. Apart from that, after 200px of h1 and utility links, we have the content with the nav on the left. We have no ads at all on the entire site, except for a CTA below the nav for our social stuff.
Food for thought?
Here's a food.
Sometimes, you may gain traffic just because your niche's competitors lost their traffic. It happened to two of my sites on some Panda/Penguin updates.
So, it's not you it's them.
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