Did you know that the layout on your web page design could affect your ranking on Google? Google released an algorithm (known as the Top Heavy algorithm) that has received a few ongoing updates since. Basically, it targets webpages with too much advertising above the fold (that means the screen area you see before you start scrolling down) and downgrades their ranking.
The problem was, when someone typed a search term into Google, they would click on a top result and the next thing they would see was… the answer to their question? Nope. It was… advertising! They would then have to scroll and scroll until they reached some actual content.
Google intends to deliver the most relevant and appropriate results for every single phrase or question that is typed into its search bar. And that’s fair enough, right? When the top pages are nothing but ads as far as the eye can see, it’s not exactly a great user experience.
So, remember, you will be penalized if your pages have a heap of ads but little content, especially above the fold.
This isn’t going to affect those with a normal amount of ads on their website. It doesn’t mean you can’t put any ads above the fold. In fact, it’s recommended that you do. Advertising above the fold is more likely to be noticed and clicked on by visitors. You just can’t take it to extremes. If you look at the top part of your webpage and the first thing you see front and center is lots of nice, big advertisements, then it’s time to ask yourself, “Am I creating the best user experience here?” One or two ads above the fold are acceptable.
Excessive ads above the fold isn’t the only layout issue that your website could possibly get penalized for. If your entire webpage creates a confusing experience which is full of advertising and very little content, you may also find your page filing down in its search engine rankings. Also, in some circumstances, you could also get penalized for having cumbersome ads that stick in place and follow the user as they scroll down the page.
In conclusion, if you open up your webpage and there is immediately very little content compared to the amount of advertising you see, you definitely need to make a change if organic traffic is important to you. The result will be more traffic, happy visitors who can see the content they want right away, and more user-friendly Internet browsing all round.