This article is written for bloggers and website owners who have lost significant number of visitor on the beginning of 2012 year or finding their traffic reduced after adding large block of ads in above the fold area.
On January 19 2012 Google announced change in their algorithm. This change affects the web sites and blogs which have too much ads in the above the fold area. Change is called "page layout algorithm". Google check how much content is placed above the fold area. More content in above the fold area, better.
Why Google check above the fold area
The reason is complaints from users who have difficult to find the actual content and must scrolling down the page. Users want to see content right away, not bellow tons of ads. So Google wants to improve user experience.
Which sites will have traffic reduced?
- Google "page layout algorithm" does not affect sites which place ads above-the-fold to a normal degree
- sites where is hard to find actual original content
- Google traffic will be reduced for sites where relevant content is pushed down by large blocks of ads
- on sites where only a small amount of visible content located above the fold
- "page layout algorithm" change affects less than 1% of globally searches
- be careful with your header, if it is too big it take precious space and push the contend down
Good tool to estimate do you have content in above the fold area is Google Browser Size. This tool help to understand how much of a page’s content is visible to visitors under various screen resolutions. Type URL of your blog, click Go and take a look does you content is visible for specific resolution.
This is how my blog look before I make changes to adapt to push up content in above the fold areaClick on image to enlarge:
My blog traffic was reduced after "page layout algorithm" started. This image above was taken with the help of Google Browser Size.
From the image we can learn:
- Only 90% of visitors will see content title ("How To Send Money Online") without scrolling down. So 10% of visitors will have scroll down to see title.
- Only 80% of visitors will see content title and first sentence without scrolling down
- 70% of visitors will see content title and first two lines without scrolling
After adjustment to avoid Google traffic reduceClick on image to enlarge:
When you enlarge image and look carefully you can conclude that:
- 99% of visitors will see the title and first two lines of content
- 98 % of visitors will see the title and fist three lines of content, "sending money online" is last sentence they will see
- 95% of visitors will see the title and fist six lines of content...
This is example of my blog which will not get Google penalty from "page layout algorithm". But this is my blog after I make changes on layout to move content closest to above the fold area.
Reduced Google traffic on my blog
My blog had significant traffic loss after January 19 2012, around 25% loss in pageviews. Also, I noticed fall of PageRank on some pages on my blog. I believe this reduced traffic is a result of "page layout algorithm".Click on image to enlarge:
When traffic will be restored
When reduced traffic will be restored and google penalty removed? Unfortunately not immediately!
If you fix a problem (reduce the number of Ads in above the fold area) Google will make note on first re-crawl. But penalty on site will be removed after several weeks.
It can take several weeks for Googlebot to crawl and process enough pages to reflect layout changes on the site
My intention is to follow the traffic and to update this article after traffic will change.
Please do comment and leave your opinion and experience with "page layout algorithm".