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In our ongoing effort to help you find more high-quality websites in search results, today [19 January] we're launching an algorithmic change that looks at the layout of a web page and the amount of content you see on the page once you click on a result...
This algorithmic change noticeably affects less than 1% of searches globally. That means that in less than one in 100 searches, a typical user might notice a reordering of results on the search page.
- Matt Cutts
They won't let you view google.com or anything related to google.com in this tool they provided.
the amount of content you see on the page once you click on a result...
As we've mentioned previously, we've heard complaints from users that if they click on a result and it's difficult to find the actual content, they aren't happy with the experience. Rather than scrolling down the page past a slew of ads, users want to see content right away.
This change is just one of the over 500 improvements we expect to roll out to search this year
Be interesting to see how my pages that lead off with a large graphic that uses all the above-the-fold real estate do.
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.
I was pretty darned sure they were already doing things with page layout in algorithm
The thing that strikes me about this is that google seems to be taking a step backwards, toward onscreen factors, as opposed to social connectivity and user behavior. It sort of reminds me of back in the day when the ratio of content to html code in a document was a factor in ranking. It just seems like something that can be easily tweaked.
The browser size tool is useless for assessing any site that uses a centred layout i.e. every site I ever go to these days.
Typical - Absolutely no advance warning, your rankings start to change before you get a chance to evaluate the impact his "news" may have on your livelihood.
has anyone that been effected that pushes their content up in the source code and then delivers it at the bottom of the page?
[edited by: Sgt_Kickaxe at 3:18 pm (utc) on Jan 20, 2012]
Typical - Absolutely no advance warning
Google uses a visual system, much like the one that shows image previews in serps. Code doesn't matter as much anymore, the algorithm is looking for telltale signs of an ad, such as the google arrow for adsense, on screen captures and not(just) in code.
Matt Cutts has gone too far this time! I am outraged over this ridiculous move by Google. They are clearly playing favorites and providing special assistance to certain websites. Of course I am referring to Google unfairly helping ignorant webmasters who were not capable of figuring out that page layout is important despite the months of public signals by Google and the public discussion on it.