Google’s new search algorithm rewards sites for smart page layout

Google announced yesterday that it is enhancing it’s search algorithm to reward sites with relevant content immediately visible “above-the-fold”.

The term, “above-the-fold”, is used to refer to the top most visible part of the webpage seen before scrolling down.

If you have too many ads, and not enough content close to the top of your page (ie. you have to scroll down to read the content), you can expect to have a drop in search engine ranking.  A normal amount of advertising is allowed as Google says their new algorithm only “affects sites that go much further to load the top of the page with ads to an excessive degree”.

Google’s innovations in engaging user experience are apparent in the statement, “we’re launching an algorithmic change that looks at the layout of a webpage and the amount of content you see on the page once you click on a result”.

The possible infractions of the rules are “a small amount of visible content above-the-fold” or “relevant content is persistently pushed down by large blocks of ads.”

Google gave no details as to the exact number of “blocks of ads” that constitute a penalty.  They are just hinting that the GoogleBot is now crawling the web with a visual lens of the user experience.

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