Web Design Resources

Web Design Resources

Google’s Page Layout Algorithm Update

The aim of google has always been to give the users what they want. All their algorithms and updates are aimed at a better user experience.

On Feb 6, 2014, Matt Cutts, Google’s Head of Search Spam, announced a refinement in the search engine giant’s page layout algorithm.

What does this algorithm do?

As has been mentioned earlier, Google wants to promote sites that give their users a better web experience. One aspect of a better website is the readability of the content. Many commercial websites use ads to earn revenues. While this is not a bad idea in itself, a few websites cross the limit. They have too many ads on a page. In addition, these ads are placed in such a manner that a user has to scroll a long way before they reach the actual page content.  Google already had a filter in place called as the ‘Top Heavy Algorithm’ that addressed this concern. Their latest update takes this a step further, and downgrades the rank of any page that has an adverse content to ad ratio.

Google does not offer any concrete answers as to what is a ‘high ratio’ and what to do if your site is penalized. It is however simple common sense that if a visitor comes to your page and sees nothing but ads first, that makes for a bad user experience. So, the user should see at least a chunk of relevant content without having to scroll down.

In his blog, Cutts claims that the latest page layout algorithm will affect only about 1% of Google’s searches globally.

You need not worry if your website is without any ads. Typically, an official company website does not have any ads in the first place, and will not be penalized at all. Only those websites that offer an inordinate numbers of paid ads will be affected. However, if your site has dropped in ranking due to the Page Layout Algorithm, it may take up to several weeks after you reduce the number of ads for the penalty to be removed.