Have you searched for something online but landed on a website that welcomed you with nothing but advertisements? There are some websites that use an excessive amount of advertisements while burying the content of the page. For this, the user sometimes needs to scroll down to find any useful information. Google noticed that users are having a bad experience searching online and launched a Page Layout update.
In this, the websites that are using advertisements on their site to a great extent while shadowing the original content have to face the penalty.
The Google Page Layout algorithm reward websites that promote content and penalize websites that have an excess advertisement on their web pages.
What is Page Layout Update?
Google launched Page Layout in the month of January 2012. This update forced the importance of putting down the idea of an advertisement on the fold section of any website. As per them, it is not a good concept to put excessive ads in that section. This is because the user had to go through a bad experience in finding the actual content for which they came to the website.
The concept behind this Google Page Layout update was based on ads. Google always wants to provide the best quality results to its users. Along with this, they want to provide a better user experience to the users when they visit any link from the SERP. Sometimes, the user lands on a page and finds it hard to locate the main content and this frustrates the user. They usually had a bad experience by scrolling down and closing a few blocks of ads. According to Google, if you are putting excessive ads on the fold section, then your website might be penalized. Sometimes, even worse can happen and your website may get removed from search results.
The impact of this update on SEO was not considered much. This is because the update was not a sensation for the SEO community. It is majorly focused on putting control over the ads in the above-the-fold section. This update is also a warning for the sites that don’t have much focus on the content of the website.
What Impacts The Page Layout Update?
Google has confirmed that it is not penalizing the websites that are using pop-up ads or overlay ads on their websites. This algorithm is only applicable to the sites that are using static or fixed ads on the pages of the websites.
Here are the reasons for the impact of the page layout algorithm:
• No content in the first fold
Content plays a very important role here. Even if your website does not have advertisements in the first fold, still the absence of content in this section can create a big problem. For this, the users need to scroll the website down to see the content. This can make your website at the risk of penalty.
• Advertising in the first fold
If the website is only having advertisements in the first fold part of the website on the screen, then your website would get the penalty by the Page Layout algorithm.
If you have a website that has a strong brand presence, the Google page layout algorithm may not mean much of a difference for you. If Google penalizes your website for not having enough content, your website could start falling in search results. This will impact the traffic that your website gets.
If your website has been penalized for any of the above reasons, then it is important to work on it. Also, you need to work on placing ads under the content. Once you have changed the layout of the website, it will help your website to recover from the penalty.
Google Page Layout Algorithm Update Versions
To the point where user experience is weak, websites with excessive ads had to re-think their web design.
For this, Google launched the given Page Layout updates:
1. Page Layout Algorithm Launched (January 19, 2012)
The heaviest algorithm change that targeted ads. It is also known as the “above-the-fold” algorithm update that was implemented to combat sites that displayed too much advertising above the fold.
2. Page Layout Algorithm Update (October 9, 2012)
The aim of this update was to adjust the algorithm and allow websites to recover that got hit by the first Google algorithm rollout.
3. Page Layout Algorithm Refresh (February 6, 2014)
On February 6, 2014, a refresh of the page layout algorithm was released. This makes the Google algorithm to update its index.
4. Page Layout Automated Algorithm (November 1, 2016)
This enabled Google to pick up on changes that the website has done to get the ranking. The ranking will be provided by automatically crawling the site during the search.
Recovery From Page Layout Update
If you were hit by the Google Page Layout update, it is easier to recover than other Google algorithm updates. This particular algorithm sees your pages’ layout every time it crawls the page. This is beneficial for you as you don’t have to wait for six months for Google to launch another update to see the changes that you’ve made.
Follow these steps to recover your website:
• Removing Ads
The addition of these ads above the fold may benefit the webmaster but not users. But the Google works to provide a better user experience. Therefore, the updates will benefit the users and provide a better user experience. To recover your website, you need to focus on removing the ads from the fold section. Those who will follow this will surely win.
• Screen Resolution Size
The screen resolution of the user device determines the above-the-fold region. Test the screen size variations and see if it is hampering the user experience. Ensure that your website is responsive on mobile, tablet, and desktop.
• Improve Content Quality
It is always seen that the website with the best content maintains the highest position in the search engine results. For this, content should be thoroughly researched, well-edited. Don’t forget to re-evaluate your content every time. When you change your site’s layout, consider how you could maximize your content and provide better quality.
Dealing with Google’s Page Layout update may feel daunting. This is because the consideration includes the redesigning of the website again and again which is a horrible thought. But Page Layout updates are used for the improvement of user experience. By improving the page layout, you can see the real truth as your site is able to grow better online and attract more visitors.
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