Robert_Charlton - 7:46 am on Jun 17, 2011 (gmt 0)
ken_b and tedster - Thanks.
The image we're considering in the site redesign is smaller than I remembered... c500w x 225h... with text showing both above and below the image (with browser only partially filling a 1280x1020 screen). I'd call it an 'atmospheric design element'. No ads on the site.
On the other site I mentioned, with the image occupying 900px vertically, the image is very definitely "a call to action within the site," but it is not linked and it's on the home page only. There's a registration form in the white space to the right of it, with all text below the fold, and so far at least the image... or at least the big area without text... doesn't seem to have affected rankings.
I'd like to think that Google can tell the difference between an image or video player vs an ad. Considerations of whether the image is linked and whether the link is internal are both intriguing to think about.
Along these same lines, how might Google react to large iframe areas in a page layout?