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

    October 10, 2012
    Chris Crum

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.