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Matt Cutts Announces "Above The Fold" Algorithm Launch

     
11:48 pm on Jan 19, 2012 (gmt 0)

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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

[insidesearch.blogspot.com...]
11:58 pm on Jan 19, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Google should practice what they preach
11:58 pm on Jan 19, 2012 (gmt 0)

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This algorithmic change noticeably affects less than 1% of searches globally.

Less than 1% .... then why bother ?
I hope he doesn't count on a standing ovation for his announcement.
12:13 am on Jan 20, 2012 (gmt 0)

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I am assuming that this kind of page-layout work (which was first announced at Pubcon back in November) is going to have future repercussions and extensions. It's good to know that the above-the-fold factor is officially in play.
12:22 am on Jan 20, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Given various screen resolutions, define "above the fold." Just saying.

Marshall
12:22 am on Jan 20, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Less than 1% .... then why bother ?

The last time it only affected "12%" and nearly cratered the web. This scale back in "potential change" means it won't be quite as devastating.

Above the fold? (I can hear the terrified stampede of webmasters rushing to check their pages in every format possible)
12:24 am on Jan 20, 2012 (gmt 0)

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This change is just one of the over 500 improvements we expect to roll out to search this year


*slaps forehead*

I'm curious about the relationship between the "complaint" number and the 1%

going to be an interesting year.
12:30 am on Jan 20, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Anyone think they mentioned this algo to the AdSense team?
12:35 am on Jan 20, 2012 (gmt 0)

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"Launching" or "Already Launched" and is it going to demote sites or reward sites, or both...

That's what I am wondering....
12:37 am on Jan 20, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Be interesting to see how my pages that lead off with a large graphic that uses all the above-the-fold real estate do. I could move text up above the graphic, but it would be confusing for humans.
12:43 am on Jan 20, 2012 (gmt 0)

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So, have they published a measuring standard then :)
1021 x 1024, 800 x 600, 460 x 324

I was doing a lotta work recently on fitting screeen sizes and whats left of my hair hasn't quite recovered
12:47 am on Jan 20, 2012 (gmt 0)

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So is it safe to assume this already took place and/or do we have to wait for a re-cache?

So far I have seen no difference in search results in my niche or my web pages that do and don't have large ads above the fold.

Also is this a site wide penalty or Panda related?
1:03 am on Jan 20, 2012 (gmt 0)

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re: 'Given various screen resolutions, define "above the fold." Just saying.'
There is an Adsense tool for that:
Moving ads higher up on a page is a simple yet effective change that can have a big impact on your ad revenue. The area that's immediately visible when a page is loaded without scrolling down is known as "above the fold..."

[as-abovethefold.appspot.com...]
1:08 am on Jan 20, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Also is this a site wide penalty or Panda related?

Not so much a penalty - more of a "quality" feature and the announcement seems to indicate it's a sitewide assessment.

Many folks i know were redesigning around this since mid last year in response to Panda - not sure how they got to hear about it, or anticipated it. Having said that, none of those sites were what you would call "spammy", where you couldn't see the content for the ads.

So it may indeed have had no effect, if indeed it was in play at the time. Moral of the story - take it easy, unless you have a spammy site.
1:18 am on Jan 20, 2012 (gmt 0)

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the "ads above the fold" problem really pales by comparison to the abandoned blogs and member profile pages that proliferate in competitive sectors.
1:35 am on Jan 20, 2012 (gmt 0)

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In my opinion, it has already happened. They usualy anounce it after the "event".

" This change is just one of the over 500 improvements we expect to roll out to search this year."

I thought this was last year. Do they have 500 more? That autocomplete must be a tough nut to crack...
1:48 am on Jan 20, 2012 (gmt 0)

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"ads above the fold" problem really pales by comparison

I'd say this had a fine commercial line of priority over quality serps. You can argue that they are inseparable though, i suppose.

[edited by: Whitey at 1:51 am (utc) on Jan 20, 2012]

1:51 am on Jan 20, 2012 (gmt 0)

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I guess they had a lot of time to recalculate everything yesterday, with the gbot slowing down the activity and all...
1:53 am on Jan 20, 2012 (gmt 0)

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This algorithmic change noticeably affects less than 1% of searches globally. That means that in less than one in 100 searches...

Inquiring minds want to know: Has g### just let slip an insight into how they work? Do you get rewarded for saying the exact same thing two times in a row? Or for assuming the reader is stupid and/or mathematically illiterate?

I love the word "globally". The smaller your country's average monitor size-- translation: the poorer your country-- the more searches will be affected. Or, wait, do I mean "the richer your country"? Are mobile searches included?
1:55 am on Jan 20, 2012 (gmt 0)

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I'm voting for "Above the Fold" being measured on a 30 inch 2560x1080 monitor open full screen.
2:03 am on Jan 20, 2012 (gmt 0)

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From both the user AND the Webmaster perspective, I think this is a good change. There are tools linked within the article to help understand above the fold on your own specific website.

I've personally tired of clicking on a serp and seeing 2, 336x280 ads side by side on a landing page. Matt mentioned this in December if my memory is right.

Edited to add:

I just checked several serps I follow and they still have a lot of work to do. Popular 2-word phrase here in my city... first serp result is a rewrite, with a 728 link unit on the first line, then (2) side by side 300x250 text ads that push the content down the screen.

So much for hope...
2:11 am on Jan 20, 2012 (gmt 0)

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|content at top with|ad|
|wrap and good stuff|ad|

Done. Change the way the web looks with the "above the fold" kind of thing. Goodbye headers. :)
2:34 am on Jan 20, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Goodbye headers.


Not necessarily. Just headers in the future will be smaller. Some sites I have seen headers less than 100 pixels. But in all seriousness, is a "header" really that important?

Marshall
2:37 am on Jan 20, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Anybody see changes yet? I'm anxious to see the effect (if any) this would have on a certain popular health site that has four adsense blocks above the fold.

1 728x90 in header, a large custom format below the article title, a 300x250 right aligned at the first paragraph and a 160x600 in the top sidebar.
2:38 am on Jan 20, 2012 (gmt 0)

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I would not say goodbye to headers just yet because headers I believe is still considered content. And I also agree with 2 300x250 ads above the fold is a little much.

I have my main site with one 300x250 ad above the fold, however we still have content up there.

I talked to a adsense representative last year and he basically said is that you just have to use some common sense about it.
2:49 am on Jan 20, 2012 (gmt 0)

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But in all seriousness, is a "header" really that important?


While I agree that the header might not be the most significant part of a site, I think they might be quite helpful for branding.

Also, lots of ecommerce sites use the area for things like Security Badges, Toll Free numbers, etc. They may not be things that lead directly to sales, but they do help generate confidence in a site. they use that area for navigation as well as alerting customers to specials and sales.

If you go to the "big brand" sites, they make maximum use of the header area. On my screen (not huge, but not small) the header for those sites takes up about 1/3 of the screen real estate.

~~~~~~

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.
2:55 am on Jan 20, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Just another smoke screen ......
4:17 am on Jan 20, 2012 (gmt 0)

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I think that's a great decision, as long as their tool works as expected, I can't think of one quality site that really abuse the header space, it's usually low quality spammy sites that put two square ads before the content.
4:33 am on Jan 20, 2012 (gmt 0)

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I would like to share a interesting find with the google browser tool [browsersize.googlelabs.com...] as specified at their blog at [insidesearch.blogspot.com...]

They won't let you view google.com or anything related to google.com in this tool they provided. However I can view bing.com and it lets me view that.

You make your own conclusions.
4:50 am on Jan 20, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Another crossing with AdWords which uses "Above the fold" for its QS.
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