MikeNoLastName - 9:56 am on Jan 24, 2012 (gmt 0)
Okay, as usual, late to the thread, but actually stayed up to read it all.
Yes the concept was mentioned at Pubcon in early Nov (I understand) AND at "Adsense in your City" in Las Vegas immediately thereafter. The Adsense reps seemed as mystified as the rest as to what constituted the "fold". So much for the traditional ad "heat map" they've touted for a long while.
We started keeping it in mind as we created new pages, but not a huge effort. Almost hate to admit it, but our sites moved UP consistently the last couple weeks, but I don't think I can entirely attribute it to this change... but I won't go there in this thread.
336x280 top-left? Whew, we were getting ready to go-with-the-flow of so many other sites and put our logo up there to link back to our home page. We'll keep it topmost center I guess.
We frequently have one 300x250 ad near-top center of on-page or off-page navigation which we instituted many years ago before adding affiliates and adsense... simply because it worked the best. On many of these pages we also have 120x600 or the newly encouraged (by Adsense) 160x600 on the left, below text navigation bars.
On many other pages we have a smaller-than-billboard size horizontal ad at the top just below the title logo and maybe 1 or 2 others way lower on the page. We have consistently resisted Adsense's encouragement to add all 3 ads to many pages.
A few comments/observations/questions _I_ have:
- On a page which is basically a single page main menu to more refined content (possibly a home page, or a second tier menu for different shaped widgets) what is really considered content? You might only have a menu with one-line descriptive text for each selection just filling one entire screen. Are ads no longer allowed at all on useful single-screen sized pages?
- What is really an ad? How can they truly differentiate between high-profile, known Adsense, affiliate ad services, etc. and your own direct-sale graphics or text ads which pass through to an internal noindex page, or robot-excluded domain before linking to another website from there? They may be shooting themselves in the foot and driving publishers AWAY from Adsense to direct-sales. Just create your own secondary ad-link thru-pages. Alternatively, perhaps they will be using the previously highly encouraged nofollow tag to differentiate an ad from a non-ad ;-)... your gamble to use or not.
Hey, think about it, (and remember you read it HERE first folks) why not let's just go back to the "dark" ages and display yellow-page style ads with NO links, just phone numbers... I think most people still own phones... for now? That'll fool them good :). Or... graphic urls (that'll surely IMPROVE user experience)... or graphic QR codes...
- what about 600 high adsense skyscrapers which start just at the very bottom of the first screen? Do they count the same as a FULL ad above the fold?
- what about full-page overlay flash ads and pop-overs?
- will mobile-oriented sites be given breaks on fold height? How will they tell which are which? Can we sneak more ads closer to the top if we put it on a me.example.com subdomain?
- What about large illustrative photos at the top of a page of a product you're selling (surely a picture is worth a thousand words... except apparently to Google... well unless they take a liking to it and include it in their unlicensed-use image database), or better still, how about HREF links to .jpgs? On thousands of pages we have href links from a 200x200 thumbnail photo to a larger format 1024x768 FOR THE BENEFIT OF INITIAL LOAD SPEED AND ADDED BENEFIT OF READERS NOT WISHING THE LARGE VERSION!. In our case G seems to LOVE these in their image-base, but how does it KNOW they are not ads ;-)? Is an href'd .jpg photo link, considered an ad or a page or... ?
I am not saying there are not a lot of sites out there at the top of the results that P me off with nothing but ads at the top and almost no additional content per page (certain highly ranked / respected definition or "dictionary" type sites which I use a lot come to mind. Just search for "anyword definition", hmm, just noticed some recent CHANGES in the ranks there I see... for the worse I think.) But I also think G is pushing the limit on trying to "see" what the user sees in a site experience, when there is such a large variety of screen sizes, browsers and people with 5-deep stacked browser tool-bars who rarely expand their browsers to full monitor size. Nor can they really determine if a linked 800x600 IMG at the top of a page is an ad or a panoramic view of a destination one is trying to impress visitors with, or if a 800x100 mini-photo strip is really a single mapped set of links to larger photos or a set of direct-sale ads. All this does is further restrain originality in web design and artistry to Google's ever-narrowing, yet-unofficially-defined, cookie-cutter website design concept (did they recently buy a template-based website-design tool?)