Google to punish sites with too many ads above the fold

Here is some great news for Internet surfers. Google has announced that it will penalize all websites which put too many advertisements above the fold. Above-the-fold means the area you see on your computer screen, as soon as you land on the webpage.

It is a decision many readers will appreciate! I too, do not like when, after landing on a webpage, I have to scroll down to start reading the first line of the content. I completely understand that monetization is a factor most bloggers (including myself) want to consider, as such above-the-fold ads generally pay well. In fact we have Google’s AdSense division recommending and urging bloggers and webmasters to put more ads above the fold, in order to increase revenues.

But now given this algorithmic change, some bloggers may have to review their ad placements.

Google however is silent about those websites who have pop-up ads or screen-blocker ads. Shouldnt they also be penalized for not giving a good user-experience? Moreover this change in the algorithm will not apply to those sites who have too many ads on their sites; only to those who have many ads above-the-fold.

Says Matt Cutts:

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. So sites that don’t have much content “above-the-fold” can be affected by this change. If you click on a website and the part of the website you see first either doesn’t have a lot of visible content above-the-fold or dedicates a large fraction of the site’s initial screen real estate to ads, that’s not a very good user experience. Such sites may not rank as highly going forward.

Ofcourse, this does not apply to Google’s own websites, but only to other website, it seems! These days most of Google search pages are loaded with ads from its own AdWords division. We see them on the top and we see them on the side.

But then Google is the king of search and of the internet and we bloggers cannot anything about it! We have to do as Google says, not as Google does!

If your website has been hit by this update, you might want to consider pushing some ads down. You may have to wait for a few weeks to see a change again, says Google.

The Windows Club too was badly hit by this algorithmic change, which was implemented on the 20th of this month, inspite of having a clearly readable content above the fold.

We have nevertheless shiftd one leaderboard advertisement above the navbar, next to the TWC header image since then. Lets pray to the Google Gods and hope things go back to normal soon!

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Anand Khanse is the Admin of and a 10-year Microsoft MVP Awardee in Windows for the period 2006-16. He enjoys following and reporting Microsoft news and developments in the world of Personal Computing & Social Media.