Google Launches New Page Layout Update (Yes, ANOTHER Update)

    October 10, 2012
    Chris Crum
    Comments are off for this post.

Google is on a roll with these updates. I think webmasters are starting to understand what Google’s Matt Cutts meant when he said a while back that updates would start getting “jarring and jolting”. It seems, that rather than one major update, we’re getting a bunch of updates in a short amount of time. This past Friday, Google launched its latest Penguin refresh. A week before that, it was the EMD update and a new Panda update.

Tuesday, Cutts tweeted about a Page Layout update:

The Page Layout update was first announced early this year, months before we ever saw the first Penguin update. It’s sometimes referred to as the “above the fold” update. It was designed to target pages that lack content above the fold. At the time, Cutts wrote in a blog post:

As we’ve mentioned previously, we’ve heard complaints from users that if they click on a result and it’s difficult to find the actual content, they aren’t happy with the experience. Rather than scrolling down the page past a slew of ads, users want to see content right away. So sites that don’t have much content “above-the-fold” can be affected by this change. If you click on a website and the part of the website you see first either doesn’t have a lot of visible content above-the-fold or dedicates a large fraction of the site’s initial screen real estate to ads, that’s not a very good user experience. Such sites may not rank as highly going forward.

We understand that placing ads above-the-fold is quite common for many websites; these ads often perform well and help publishers monetize online content. This algorithmic change does not affect sites who place ads above-the-fold to a normal degree, but affects sites that go much further to load the top of the page with ads to an excessive degree or that make it hard to find the actual original content on the page. This new algorithmic improvement tends to impact sites where there is only a small amount of visible content above-the-fold or relevant content is persistently pushed down by large blocks of ads.

It looks like Christmas has come early for webmasters this year. Although, on that note, this could be a sign that Google is getting all of this stuff out of the way before the holiday season, so they don’t mess too much with your rankings during this crucial time of year for ecommerce. They’ve shown in the past that they’ve learned from the infamous Florida update.

  • http://www.allotmentplanner.org Martyn

    My heart sank when I first read the title of this article, but after reading it properly it isn’t to bad an update.

  • http://gfx-3d-model.com pelister

    Then why the hell google recommends ad placements like these..


    Google trying to make fool of everyone..
    “Weather report” – lots of websites destroyed and yet this bastard is in the mood of making fun…Soon everyone will give weather report for google.

  • http://gfx-3d-model.com pelister

    Will google change the page layout, it has ads appearing at the front misleading people to click on it, will google remove those ads above the fold? in search results.

  • http://www.dimmockwebmarketing.co.uk Tony Dimmock

    Google’s shaking things up quite a bit! “Above the fold” algo update will surely hit affiliate sites between the eyes plus those designs that “must” have a lovely Flash intro… Rankings are getting more and more inter-related with design (if they wern’t already!). With this and the direct domain match update, Xmas traffic is going to be fun :)

  • Uday Kiran

    When started reading the update, 1st thought was in mind to login to my blogger / wordpress and immediately remove ads from my website which are on top.. but this line given me some relaxation.. “does not affect sites who place ads above-the-fold to a normal degree”..,

    as far as for a better user experience, this update has a positive impact..,

  • http://www.engage-2012.com/ Engage 2012 Conference

    Google should really consider the amount of updates it releases. This one isn’t so bad, though. But how many updates were there in the few past weeks?

  • http://www.worldintnews.com anderson

    Thank you for that sensible critique. Me & my neighbour were preparing to do some research about that. We acquired a good book on that matter from our local library and most books exactly where not as influensive as your details. Im really glad to see such facts which I was searching for a long time

  • Sachin Gupta

    Thank GOD it’s not like previous updates of Google. It’s a good update and it will definitely improves the website quality from users point of view.

  • Mobile Phones

    This weather change is not going to effect to many E commerce website. As i am still looking for few more i guess updates from Google as it’s now close to Christmas and for all E commerce webmasters time to pull up their gears for websites.

  • http://www.brickmarketing.com/full-service-seo Nick Stamoulis

    I wonder what a “normal degree” of ads entails exactly. When a site is obviously cramming ads above the fold it’s easy to see where they went wrong, but how fine is the line between normal and spammy? I’m not worried for my own site, but other site owners should proceed with caution and play it safe.

    • http://luxury-dream-home-designs.com Viryabo

      My question still remains the same. How normal is “a normal degree of ads” above the fold? Its a welcome update though and not as ‘devastating’ as some.

  • Trey

    So sites that rely on images for their business will be penalized? How is a rug seller or landscaper going to showcase their work with slabs of context when the users want to SEE IMAGES and NOT READ text.

  • http://www.musicnfilms.com/ Justin

    As expected, Google is getting more strict when it comes to rankings. In promoting our websites online, we only need to think of one thing – QUALITY. That’s what Google is after so that’s what we should offer.

  • http://www.brettb.com Brett

    Will this update affect Google’s own search results page? 12 Google ads, 3 (if you’re lucky) actual search results. Lmao.

    • Ridiculous

      Hahaha, awesome point, there are indeed to real results on the front page of google, only ads are visible in the fold !

  • http://www.graciousstore.com Nina

    I do agree with the idea of reducing the advert that clutter some websites, as such making it heard for visitors to see the products or services they are looking for

  • http://montazne-hise-on.net Aleksander

    Really interesting how much Google lately trying to gain more authority than is actually the!

  • Saj M

    I guess now that Google has shareholders to answer to, with all these updates and algos coming along nicely for Google, hitting people hard, drop ranking for websites, they seem to want to show you up to 8 sponsored ad words for some search terms on their pages and only leaving space for 2 organic listing, what chance has any webmaster got, appearing high on Google, with these new layout update telling webmasters to put their ad word / ad sense where no one can see them on their sites, hence Google not having to pay out any ad sense referrals. No clicks thru’s means nothing to pay out.

    I think the idea is to get more dropped site to signup for a Google ad sense account and spend loads of money with Google trying to appear high, it won’t be long before the whole of the first Google page result will be sponsored paid links, otherwise where are they going to put them all..?

    Not forgetting they are also about to start charging for the product shopping feed that webmasters submit, currently free, however when it kicks in for now this will apply to USA sites but will not be long when it hits the UK.

    Google’s days are now numbered, Google is now just one big capitalist machine, dictating to people how you must abide by the rules on the web, FREE days are gone they are not interested in general websites from which they can NOT monetise, they need to be seen to be earning money, that is what the shareholders want, otherwise who’s going to pay for the big expensive data centres Google has scattered all over the world, why should Google send a website free traffic unless someone has paid for it along the way..?

    It won’t be long when any sites that want to be in the Google index will need to be Google approved with a nice little badge on the site to show it. Otherwise you’re out. And stay out until you pay them.

    Pay Google for adwords and you will appear high no matter what your layout is, no matter how many back links you have paid for, no matter how many black hat tricks you have used. You get the pattern..!!

    Google is not your friend any more..!! Just a big bully..!! Pay him and your okay.

    Readers might think I got some kind of issue with Google but its fact we live in a capitalist society where money talks and bullshits walks.

  • alex

    I still think that google is pushing hes luck and soon or later other search engines will become as popular as google with lots of freedom, google is becoming webmaster unfriendly and eventually user unfriendly, google is becoming almost like a communist party, users will look for bing and other search engines to get the cool results

  • http://www.cobwebseo.com/ Ajay Jhunjhunwala

    I and we all know that another update. I think this Page Layout update will not make much difference. I am thinking about Panda 20. I still don’t know how it affected search results and which areas we should take care. Hi will you help guys.