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Google's "Page Layout" Algorithm Irony

By Valerie DiCarlo

Google’s “Page Layout” Algorithm With Too Many Ads “Above The Fold” IRONY

In the recent Search Engine Land piece by Danny Sullivan, Pages With Too Many Ads “Above The Fold” Now Penalized By Google’s “Page Layout” Algorithm, he points out the changes “called the “page layout algorithm” — takes direct aim at any site with pages where content is buried under tons of ads”.

But let’s look at the irony of this latest algorithm change:

People using Adsense are being contacted by Google’s AdSense team (including Danny Sullivan as stated in his article) encouraging them to put more ads on their site. Huh? Yes, while their instruction promotes careful placement of the ads, that user experience be considered and, encourages ads be surrounded by content... er… or is that content be surrounded by ads? #irony

Another issue Sullivan points out “is that ads on Google’s own search results pages push the “content” — the unpaid editorial listings — down toward the bottom of the page”. And yes, I have also noticed that the yellowish background that used to designate ads has been significantly “faded” to an almost undistinguishable background color – which some can suspect is deliberate by Google to make the ads less noticeable as ads. #irony

But regardless of the ads, we now have other listings that push down the organic search content that can frustrate a searcher seeking more targeted results. Users have to parse through the related searches, local maps listings and shopping results. I have experienced complaints from clients, friends and family that are frustrated with how Google is displaying results when all they want is quality information from their search. It’s becoming too much for some to sort through.

I especially liked the Postscript to the Danny Sullivan article. How will Google know what an ad is? The answer doesn’t do much to assure me that there can’t be room for error.

Google Page Layout Algorithm