Robert_Charlton - 9:52 am on Apr 16, 2011 (gmt 0)
In agreement with brinked, and forgive me if I'm departing from the list of losers posted at the beginning of this thread, but I've looked at many of them and they fit this mold. This is from a post I made on Feb 25... [webmasterworld.com...] ...in reaction to the early changes I saw, and it discusses why excessive and deceptively placed ads may be one of the factors involved.
IMO, there are other factors. I'll try to get in step with Shatner's agenda for discussing those.
...AdSense links trying to draw clicks were interspersed among the the questions and non-answers. On the results I'm now seeing returned, most of that junk, at any rate, is at least 30 spots lower.
I'm sure these AdSense links got a large share of clicks which pulled people off the sites fairly quickly. While these probably resulted in more immediate AdSense income to the site owners, they perhaps also provided a not good satisfaction signal to Google in the long run.
For the queries I've run, I'm seeing the pages now at the top providing much more useful information. Many of the newly surfaced pages still run AdSense, but, on many of these higher quality pages, the styling of the ads is different. The pages which are designed to keep users around have the ads in clearly delineated boxes with tinted backgrounds. Some of the best have the ads physically separated from the discussion.
There are multiple reasons that I'm assuming that user behavior was a factor in this update, but this is one of them. I don't think that Google is directly looking at AdSense styling or placement... but it's likely that the intention of design and of the overall site, to the degree that page design may have affected user involvement, was measured and factored into the new algorithm....