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Hit by "ads above the fold" update
asusplay

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4521883 posted 2:45 pm on Nov 23, 2012 (gmt 0)

My main site (UK market) got hit around October 11th with a 70% reduction in Google traffic. The only update around that date was the "too many ads above the fold" update. I do not have Adwords or anything like that but I did have in a few pages some ads above the fold which I obviously removed. However many of my competitors in my niche have far worse. I find that several pages have been hit much harder than others, and that there seems to be some sort of traffic shaping, because I used to get a big peak in the evening, and now I find that if one hour there is a steady flow of visitors, the next hour or two there is nothing, and so on. Also UK traffic has been the main affected, as it still gets traffic from other countries, only that this doesn't convert.

This site had been a bit unstable in the last 2 years where Panda was concerned and it was hit several times, only to recover fully after a few weeks with the next update each time. I found it a bit strange but the hits never stuck so it wasn't so bad.

However it has now been more than a month since the last hit and there are no signs of recovery. Were many sites hit by this update, any indication of how they recover?

 

Sgt_Kickaxe

WebmasterWorld Senior Member sgt_kickaxe us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time



 
Msg#: 4521883 posted 6:44 pm on Nov 23, 2012 (gmt 0)

You could always remove all ads for a few weeks and see what happens. You mentioned traffic not converting, does the site sell product or is it an affiliate site or did you mean doesn't convert into ad clicks or signups? I'm trying to get an idea of what type of site you have to go with the 70% traffic loss.

I have a site with a lot of ads and one with none, neither saw any change around Oct 11th.

sunnyujjawal



 
Msg#: 4521883 posted 6:17 am on Nov 24, 2012 (gmt 0)

Will Google bring any update for this algo also?

deadsea

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4521883 posted 3:46 pm on Nov 24, 2012 (gmt 0)

My site was hit in the initial January launch of this algorithm and halfway recovered in the October update.

I haven't heard of any site that has recovered from this algorithm, even by removing all the ads, except by waiting for the next iteration of the algorithm to be released by Google.

asusplay

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4521883 posted 11:34 pm on Nov 24, 2012 (gmt 0)

The site is an affiliate site, and it has a lot less ads than the competition. Even so I removed those ads which were above in the fold which I thought were the culprit. I dont understand why mine was hit and not others who clearly have a lot more.

It certainly sounds ominous if no one has fully recovered from the January iteration. Hopefully another one will be rolled out soon although it is extremely hypocritical that Google do this when I continuosuly get emails from them telling me I can have adwords pretty much everywhere on my sites.

I have had a further reduction in traffic since Nov 21st / 22nd. Has there been another update of some sort?

deadsea

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4521883 posted 11:53 pm on Nov 24, 2012 (gmt 0)

It seems likely that the algorithm is counting affiliate links as ads when it can. Your site may using affiliate links in a way that allows them to be detected when maybe your competitors are not.

From what I can gather they also don't want webmasters to push ads below the fold with white space. In other words, there must be more content above the fold than ads above the fold.

I believe that my site was targeted because my interactive javascript content looks like a "call to action". It doesn't actually take up that much screen real-estate. It may actually be counted as an ad by the algorithm.

So move the following down in the page if possible: Ads, third party links, forms, whitespace.

And move up: text, images, flash.

Dan01



 
Msg#: 4521883 posted 3:55 am on Nov 25, 2012 (gmt 0)

I had a section at the bottom of all of my pages for classified ads. I removed them about a year ago and recovered big time. The ads were below the fold. A couple months later another iteration came out and we fell off the SERPS again. We are still working to improve the site (deleting junk pages mostly).

But like someone else mentioned, we still get more traffic from Google than Bing and Yahoo combined.

Nostalgic Dave

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4521883 posted 7:01 am on Nov 25, 2012 (gmt 0)

Googles announcement about the Page Layout Algorithm says:

"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."

Is this not actually true? We have to wait for a algo refresh?

[googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com...]

Simsi

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4521883 posted 9:14 am on Nov 25, 2012 (gmt 0)

I thought the idea of this "Ads Above The Fold" update was to penalise sites whose goal appeared (to Google) to be simply to refer traffic elsewhere. That's a subtle difference to penalising sites for just having ads in prominent positions and relates as much to content/ad relevancy and quality of content itself.

I remember reading once the theory that not giving the visitor the answer they wanted was actually better for CPC ad revenue! I would imagine this update also has something to do with addressing that.

Also, thinking about the relevancy of ads above the fold and how that relates to a user interacting with a site, it only really makes sense to have them there if the content tells the visitor something that would induce them to click one. IE: "These XYZ shoes are the best I ever bought" accompanied by an ad specifically for XYZ branded shoes.

If a visitor hasn't even scrolled and they are clicking an ad and the content doesn't directly act as an inducement, there's probably only one rea$on you'd want someone to leave the site anyway, so it's hardly a quality signal IMO.

If one's adverts were 100% relevant to the content and not just in the same ballpark, I think a site with ads above the fold would probably be more likely to avoid this penalty.

I haven't worked with generic 3rd party ad platforms (nor do you say if you are using 3rd party ads to be fair) but I don't know how feasible it is to display an advert for XYZ branded shoes when you are reviewing XYZ branded shoes. If it's not very feasible, then I'd say this could be a problem and might explain why generic ads like these were penalised more than sites with targetted bespoke ads.

chalkywhite



 
Msg#: 4521883 posted 10:19 am on Nov 27, 2012 (gmt 0)

anyone dare to try the new adsense 300 x 600?

[webmasterworld.com...]

diberry

WebmasterWorld Senior Member



 
Msg#: 4521883 posted 4:40 pm on Nov 27, 2012 (gmt 0)

I thought the idea of this "Ads Above The Fold" update was to penalise sites whose goal appeared (to Google) to be simply to refer traffic elsewhere. That's a subtle difference to penalising sites for just having ads in prominent positions and relates as much to content/ad relevancy and quality of content itself.


This would fit with what I'm seeing in the SERPs. Lots of sites near the top have tons of ads, but they also have good content and the ads aren't too in your face - they aren't blended with menus or content, they don't jump all over the page trying to get under your cursor, etc.

After all, it's not in Google Adsense's interest to discourage advertising in general - just advertising in ways that damage the user experience.

graeme_p

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4521883 posted 1:03 pm on Nov 29, 2012 (gmt 0)

My main site, also aimed at the UK (and on a .co.uk domain) partially recovered on the 10th October from a drop in traffic that I had assumed was due to ads above the fold because of the date of the drop (in January).

Either its something else or the algo has been tweaked. I think the former because changes in the meantime had no effect.

Any idea about whether text link ads (of the vibrant media type - pop up an ad on hover over double underlined text) are treated?

Sand



 
Msg#: 4521883 posted 1:21 pm on Nov 29, 2012 (gmt 0)

anyone dare to try the new adsense 300 x 600?


I've been using 300x600s for a couple years now through other ad networks. I keep them in the sidebar, obviously. Visually, they can be pretty nice (graphical ones, anyway). Lots of big sites use them periodically.

asusplay

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4521883 posted 11:23 pm on Nov 29, 2012 (gmt 0)

@graeme_p so basically nothing of what you did in the meantime actually made the situation better and you had to wait for the next update. Sounds like I'm in for a long wait then if there's 9 months between updates.

Strangely enough I've been hit by a "too many ads" penalty and yet I get an email from someone at Google

Subject - FAO: Marketing Manager - Google AdWords HQ Support

To Whom It May Concern,

I am contacting you from the Google European Headquarters in Dublin. I work specifically within Google for the UK sector. I wanted to reach out to you regarding your website and offer you account management for any future activity with your current URL or any other URLs you will be launching.

I have a team that provides free support with Google AdWords-- including account managers, account strategists, and optimizers. If you are thinking of using Google's products to generate traffic and awareness, we are here to provide you with our best practices. It is essentially a consultancy type service directly from Google. We can also work with third parties if you have them in place - to make sure the internal processes at Google run smoothly (Ad Approvals, etc)

This would be a very beneficial service for your website or other campaign launches - Would you be available to chat at some stage next week? I would love to hear more about your digital plan going forward.

Look forward to hearing from you.

Best Regards,

graeme_p

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4521883 posted 7:22 am on Nov 30, 2012 (gmt 0)

My last Adsense suggestion improvement was that to put a 336x280 in the top left corner. They helpfully attached a screenshot with the area the add would occupy highlighted: to would completely take the space occupied by my logo and navigation, and a fair chunk of space currently showing content.

@asusplay, it is taking longer than 9 months. The drop started with a downward jump followed by a slide over several months, the recovery started with an upward jump, and that seems to be being followed by growth.

Sgt_Kickaxe

WebmasterWorld Senior Member sgt_kickaxe us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time



 
Msg#: 4521883 posted 3:53 pm on Nov 30, 2012 (gmt 0)

anyone dare to try the new adsense 300 x 600?

Yes, I made a special template change to fit it in actually. I then reduced the size of two other units by selecting smaller units.

My findings: not much difference in earnings, probably due to the fact that the big 300x600 looks EXTREMELY empty when Google shows a single ad in it(I hate that with a passion G). No drop in traffic, yet.

ken_b

WebmasterWorld Senior Member ken_b us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4521883 posted 4:58 pm on Nov 30, 2012 (gmt 0)

My last Adsense suggestion improvement was that to put a 336x280 in the top left corner. They helpfully attached a screenshot with the area the add would occupy highlighted: to would completely take the space occupied by my logo and navigation, and a fair chunk of space currently showing content.

Makes ya wonder what some of the "optimization team" at Adsense are smoking.

(I've had both good and terrible advice from them)

moehits

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4521883 posted 10:26 pm on Dec 14, 2012 (gmt 0)

A site I manage added in a large banner to the top of the homepage on Cyber Monday, Nov, 26th, it took a few days to get indexed, and I saw a rankings drop right around Dec 1st. The rankings are almost all back in the past two weeks except for the main term.

This fits in with the ads above the fold description, when they indexed the homepage, a penalty was assessed, and then they indexed the rest of the site, and it saw it was just the homepage, the spam score went down a bit and most rankings came back.

Anyone else see anything like this?

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