Google to punish sites with many ads at the top of pages

The company will lower the search ranking of websites where "excessive" amounts of ads force users to scroll down to find content

Websites that load the top of their pages with ads, forcing visitors to scroll down to view content, will take a hit on their Google rankings.

Google has concluded that its users are bothered by this type of layout so it will begin penalizing them in search results, the company said in a blog post.

"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," wrote Matt Cutts, a Google engineer who is considered the company's main authority on search engine optimization (SEO).

Google will not punish websites that place ads at the top of their pages to what the company considers "a normal degree" but rather those with an "excessive" amount of ads that make it hard for users to find the site's original content.

"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," Cutts wrote. Google forecasts that this particular algorithmic tweak will impact the order of results in less than 1 percent of searches.

As often happens whenever Google introduces search algorithm changes, webmasters are already chiming in, and some aren't very happy, as evidenced by some of the comments left on Cutts' blog post.

Several commenters argue that it's hypocritical of Google to punish sites for something that they believe Google itself is often guilty of, while others suggest that it shouldn't be Google's business how sites decide to lay out their ads, especially when the Google policy could impact how effective the ads are.

Juan Carlos Perez covers search, social media, online advertising, e-commerce, web application development, enterprise cloud collaboration suites and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Juan on Twitter at @JuanCPerezIDG.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Juan Carlos Perez

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?