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Removing Ads and improved SEO ?

     
3:04 am on Jun 25, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Was wondering what the general consensus is on removing all ads from a site and seeing how significantly it helps SEO.

Have others tried it, and for how long ? I would think 6 weeks should be ample enough for results.

Doing a quick google search, I see this topic came up about a year ago -

[webmasterworld.com...]

the guy in the thread says his rank shot up significantly after removing ads.
3:23 am on June 25, 2012 (gmt 0)

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I haven't tried it myself - but I want to add that Google mentions in at least one patent the possibility of using the quality of advertisers to influence the quality measure for the site hosting the ads.

Now back to Mike's question - Have others tried removing ads to improve rankings, and for how long?
11:35 pm on June 25, 2012 (gmt 0)

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I'm doing it with one of my adult sites...will report back in a few weeks / month.
2:33 pm on June 27, 2012 (gmt 0)

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I had a clients site that tanked during Penguin (90% traffic loss) - all the sites revenue came via adsense. As traffic was negligible I pulled the Adsense to see if that did anything. Within 2 weeks my clients traffic had almost recovered, I added the ads back on and traffic died again almost overnight!

I have a pretty clear choice now, I can have a quiet site with ads on it or a busy site that doesn't earn any money! Anyhow the site is back up and traffic has recovered but again without the ads - it took 4 weeks this time though.

Perhaps the ads give a signal of low quality or raise the bounce rate beyond a critical point. I need to find a way to monetise the site without inducing this penalty!

Load times could potentially be longer with Adsense and this might be the factor kicking in causing "low quality" tagging.

Perhaps the content to ads ratio is all wrong and I need to thin out the ads a little.

I have lots to try and little time to experiment but I'll report back as I discover new things.
2:38 pm on June 27, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Perhaps the content to ads ratio is all wrong and I need to thin out the ads a little.


I would look at this, and also at ad placement. If at first glance the ads stand out more than the content, that could be your problem.

Since you're seeing such a black and white difference between ads and no ads, then you can do some testing - try putting one ad below the fold, and see if that helps. Test your placements for number of ads and location to see if you can find a place both you and Google are comfortable with.
3:27 pm on June 27, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Can I just point out here that google is messed up...

Should removing ads works in the case of mike2010's adult site, then we can assume that google finds adsense to be "lower quality" than adult content.

I mean, with all due respect to mike2010, how bad do the ads have to be to drag down the quality of an adult site?

~~~~~~~~

And on to another rant:


I would look at this, and also at ad placement. If at first glance the ads stand out more than the content, that could be your problem.


While I would do this first, too, and suspect it is the main culprit, I can't help but notice how many sites rank REALLY WELL with TONS of obtrusive ads - I mean, the types of ads where there is a "layer" that loads over the content, and you either have to sign up for a newsletter or you have to find the little X and close the window to see the content.

And then once you do see the content, there is a BIG banner ad, then on the upper right there is a large square ad, then halfway down the content there is another banner ad, then on the right there is a skyscraper, then on the bottom are text adsense...

and after all that, the content still isn't that good...
4:32 pm on June 27, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Yea well, it's a messed up system, but at some point you have to just decide to either play the game or not. I have mouths to feed, so I try to keep it pragmatic.
5:46 pm on June 27, 2012 (gmt 0)

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So odd how Google is penalizing EVEN when having their own ads (Adsense) on a site. Would be great if Google could explain.


Should removing ads works in the case of mike2010's adult site, then we can assume that google finds adsense to be "lower quality" than adult content.

I mean, with all due respect to mike2010, how bad do the ads have to be to drag down the quality of an adult site?


Adsense doesn't allow ads on adult sites. So none of those ads even needed to be pulled. Just general adult ads / live cam ads in general.. I had about 4 or 5 on each page, along with one of those super-annoying pop-unders. They've all been removed. And our adult site now is probably cleaner than a virgin's (ohh nevermind) .

So far very little if any changes the last couple days. But our pages take awhile to cache since it's only PR2. In the adult world, that's actually pretty good. PR4 adult sites are actually considered pretty epic in popularity. Even po rnhub is just PR5.
5:59 pm on June 27, 2012 (gmt 0)

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I doubt that ads just by themselves are much of a factor (if at all) in the algo. But they can be a decisive factor when your site tripped some sort of a penalty hotwire and a human drone was dispatched to verify what's going on. They are pretty merciless creatures and they would very easily put you in the spam bin as soon as they see two or three considerable size (300x250 and up) ad blocks above the fold and they don't really care what ad network the ads belong to.

AdSense just happens to absolutely dominate most of the niches (except adult of course) and so their ads are always prominent and they get you penalized more likely than some of the other types of ads because the Google human drone's eyes are by now very well trained to AdSense, whereas they may not immediately realize something else is an ad, too, given the 0.1 second they got to judge you. Since they are seeing AdSense ad blocks thousands of times per day, it just immediately trips the "spam" circuitry in their overworked brains.
6:52 pm on June 27, 2012 (gmt 0)

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I have one big rectangle at the top before the body text starts on many of the pages of a site that I am working on.

Some of the body text is visible without scrolling, but the big rectangle is right there at the top.

Could this have caused me to be affected by Penguin?

Some of the pages on this site could have better content, and there might be over optimization in terms of links.

Could having a smaller sized ad at the top or maybe moving it below the fold help me?

Does it seem like the ad the way it is now is combining with other factors to cause the site to be affected by Penguin?

I would appreciate your thoughts.
2:06 am on June 28, 2012 (gmt 0)

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I removed adsense and analytics from a site completely, the results included:

- Page load speed was greatly improved, from 3 seconds down to 1.5 seconds.
- Page SEO improved greatly on all of the popular testing sites, a 100% score in most cases
- No immediate change but traffic ramped up 21% above what I expected over the next 5 weeks
- More engaged visitors
- Lower bounce rate

I'd say the ads do weigh down a site, especially when loaded with javascript from a 3rd party server, and that it impacts traffic/serps. Unfortunately removing them from all sites isn't an option for most.
4:56 am on June 28, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Why not try lazy loading?
If you want to increase page speed and provide a better user experience, load the ads just before closing </body>, and use javascript to position them where you want. This is called lazy loading (Google it).
What you get: Visitors see the content first before the ads are loaded at the end.
5:17 am on June 28, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Page SEO improved greatly on all of the popular testing sites, a 100% score in most cases


How do you measure "page SEO" ?
1:12 pm on June 28, 2012 (gmt 0)

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@waynne and @Sgt_Kickaxe,

Can you please tell me where the ads were located and if your sites were affected by the above the fold algorithm in January 2012?
3:37 pm on June 28, 2012 (gmt 0)

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gouri, I think if the content on a page is pretty low...putting 3 adsense ads at the top may penalize the page even more. But putting those adsense ads at the BOTTOM of a low content page may even help seo ranking slightly.

I think by now, we have to try to think like google.

Advertisers love it when we put their ads all the way at the top and in prime position...but Google, not as much...I don't believe. (even when it's their own ads)
3:16 pm on June 29, 2012 (gmt 0)

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When Google looks at the ads above the fold on a webpage, are they looking at them on a desktop only or do you think that they are also looking at how the webpage appears on a mobile phone and a tablet and then determining if the ads above the fold are taking up too much space?
3:37 pm on June 29, 2012 (gmt 0)

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gouri..look at a preview of any site in serps..what does it look like they think an average surfer uses..so what do you suppose they or the ้anti spam drones" use..
4:05 pm on June 29, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Probably a desktop, but I was just wondering if they might look at other devices also.
4:27 pm on June 29, 2012 (gmt 0)

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I haven't tried it myself - but I want to add that Google mentions in at least one patent the possibility of using the quality of advertisers to influence the quality measure for the site hosting the ads.


Many months ago I launched a batch of new sites all selling red square widgets. All but two of them I linked to an equally new site which was acting as the merchant and the other two to a well established merchant.

All the sites I linked to that new site tanked. I changed the link to that same recognised merchant two months ago and they have stayed tanked. The two sites I linked originally to the recognised merchant have thrived, as expected. All sites enjoyed roughly the same promotional methods.

My conclusions; (1) yes indeed, the site you link to is vitally important and (2) any penalty can last a long time, at least for a new site.
4:59 pm on June 29, 2012 (gmt 0)

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at 800 pixels ?..probably a tab / pad or a mobile ( in landscape )..desktop the "preview" would be 1024 px..
6:05 pm on June 29, 2012 (gmt 0)

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I can confirm, i tried it once and it worked. I changed host, improvised content and totally removed ads from one of panda affected site, it was back in serps in next data refresh.
7:44 pm on June 29, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Thanks, Leosghost.

I am not very familiar with screen resolutions but if I had a big rectangle at the top of a page, would that take up most of the screen on a mobile phone and a lot of screen space on a tablet?

@zehrila,

Were you affected by the above the fold algorithm in January 2012 or were you not impacted, but after making the changes, you saw an improvement?
9:10 pm on June 29, 2012 (gmt 0)

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@gouri

I was affected in the first global panda update, now i am not sure if it actually was panda, because right after all the changes i made, i was back in serps with in a week.
9:24 pm on June 29, 2012 (gmt 0)

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I am not very familiar with screen resolutions but if I had a big rectangle at the top of a page, would that take up most of the screen on a mobile phone and a lot of screen space on a tablet?

Yes..depending on the size of the ad..it could take up almost all the viewport on a 800 x 460 mobile screen in "landscape mode" and about all of the top 50 % of the screen in "portrait mode"..it would be almost the only thing a visitor would see without scrolling..and be the dominant thing on the page on a tablet..
11:07 pm on June 29, 2012 (gmt 0)

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@zehrila,

Thanks for the response. I agree that it would be hard to determine what helped you based on when you improved.

@Leosghost,

Thanks.

Would 800 x 460 be considered on the larger side for the screen resolution of a mobile screen? I looked up mobile screen sizes and saw that a lot of them are about 240 x 320. What you say I think applies to screens of this size as well, but I am just wondering if 800 x 460 is bigger than what you would usually see for a mobile device?
11:55 pm on June 29, 2012 (gmt 0)

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I serve a 768x90 on everything down to an iPad resolution, and for anything below that, a 320x50. FWIW.
5:58 pm on July 2, 2012 (gmt 0)

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@gouri

I serve a small 468x90 ad in the header, and there is a 468x90 ad at the end of the article so the advert to content ratio is actually quite small on the site in question - with me only using 2 of the 3 possible ads!
8:11 pm on July 2, 2012 (gmt 0)

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I serve a small 468x90 ad in the header, and there is a 468x90 ad at the end of the article so the advert to content ratio is actually quite small on the site in question - with me only using 2 of the 3 possible ads!


@waynne,

Are these ads currently on the site or are these the ones that you removed (what you mention around the beginning of this thread) and after removing them, traffic increased?
12:19 am on July 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

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I was hit by Panda last July (probably due to overoptimization - which I've been working on). While trying to figure out what's wrong I removed all my G. ads in March and April during the furor over above-the-fold-ads. I only had a couple above the fold and the rest were either in the middle or the bottom of long pages so I'm sure they didn't affect my site. But they didn't bring in enough to make it worth it to bend to every G. whim so I took them all off. Removing them did not affect my ranking either way but then it's been on a downward slide with almost every Panda update anyway.
11:59 am on July 4, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Screen resolution mobile vs laptop? Why bother? Make them buy REAL computers. Give them another couple months and they'll all be higher resolution than desktops anyway.
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