Google’s Matt Cutts and Amit Singhal spoke at PubCon today about search quality. They said a lot of things, but one thing that stood out was that Google is looking to penalize sites that show too many ads that make it more difficult to find the content.
Danny Sullivan quotes Cutts as saying, “If you have ads obscuring your content, you might want to think about it...Do they see content or something else that’s distracting or annoying?”
Cutts said they’re testing algorithms that determine, ”what are the things that really matter, how much content is above the fold.”
Ads have been been a known part of the Google quality equation for some time, particularly as people have tried to recover from the Panda update. Remember that list of questions Google put out that highlighted what webmasters should asking themselves when assessing the quality of their pages? One of those was:
Does this article have an excessive amount of ads that distract from or interfere with the main content?
So, it’s not exactly a huge new revelation that Google is looking at this stuff, but to hear that they’re actually testing new algorithms based on this is a new thing.
We’ll certainly be following developments in this area. Suffice it to say that now would probably be a good time to evaluate your ads to content ratio.