‘Top Heavy Update 2’ aka ‘Page Layout Algorithm Update’ Targets Websites Displaying Lots of Ads at the Top

Google AlgorithmFourth update by Google, since the past two weeks. Matt Cutts tweeted again,

“Minor weather report: Update of goo.gl/OpIDL launching today. ~0.7% of English queries noticeably affected.”

Here in his post Matt has also linked his previous announcement regarding the first Page Layout Algorithm Update.

Page Layout Algorithm Update: Version 1

The first update was on January 19, 2011. Matt Cutts had mentioned in his blog post that this effort was to optimize the amount of content a user is able to view once a result is clicked via. Google search. Yes…improving user experience as always. He also noted that this algorithm update was done after receiving complaints from users, that websites lack actual content and quality due to little content “above-the-fold”, dedicating a whole majority of the visible area to ads. This update was announced to supposedly affect 1% of the search globally.

Barry Schwartz had reported that 70% of the websites did never recover from the first version of Page Layout Algorithm Update of Google dated, 17 September, 2012. That would be after eight months since the first update rolled out. Barry commented that no vast majority of sites got hit, but a few that got hit suffered a huge tremor, and as per Barry a majority of the percentage didn’t recover yet.Its really hard to believe this poll results, and I wonder how people just sit ideal without taking necessary steps to recover from this old update, all they have to do is remove the excessive ads they had placed in their site.

Page Layout Algorithm Update: Version 2Page Layout Algorithm

Notably Matt mentions that the second update to Google’s Page Layout Algorithm affects approximately 0.7% of English queries alone, and no information on the other language sites. It’s a bit tricky to compare the first update hit percentage with the second one, since the first one was 1% globally. Possibly the second update should outsmart the first in my opinion, as Google’s Knowledge Team is well set for a combat, since the past two weeks.

Advice from Matt Cutts

Matt Cutts advices to make use of Google’s “Google Browser Size tool or similar tools to understand how much of a page’s content (as opposed to ads) is visible at first glance to visitors under various screen resolutions.”

Danny Sullivan in his post titled, “The Top Heavy Update: Pages With Too Many Ads Above The Fold Now Penalized By Google’s “Page Layout” Algorithm”, explained very well how Google’s own Search Results pages are “Top Heavy”.

Danny also added an interesting question as post script:

Query: How Google Knows What An Ad Is?
Google’s Reply: We have a variety of signals that algorithmically determine what type of ad or content appears above the fold, but no further details to share. It is completely algorithmic in its detection–we don’t use any sort of hard-coded list of ad providers.

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