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February 2014 Google Algorithm Update
Sites with “Top Heavy” Ad Layouts Lose Rankings
If you’ve noticed a drop in site rankings within the last five days or so, you might have been hit by Google’s latest page layout algorithm update.
On Feb. 10, Matt Cutts tweeted “SEO folks: we recently launched a refresh of this algorithm: http://goo.gl/3yk0Xo Visible to outside world on ~Feb. 6th.”
The tweet linked to an old post on Google’s Inside Search blog on page layout algorithm improvement. According to the post,
“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.”
“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.”
Since its release, this is the third time Google has updated its Top Heavy algorithm. According to Search Engine Land,
“We have not seen many complaints within the SEO community around February 6th or 7th about any update like this, which suggests it impacted fewer sites than when Google updates other filters like the Panda or Penguin algorithms.”
Did You Lose Rankings in the Latest Update?
Although advertisers highly value above the fold ad space, at this point it’s clear that Google won’t hesitate to penalize sites with too many ads above the fold. And it’s difficult to tell how long it will take you to recover from such a penalty.
According to Google,
“If you decide to update your page layout, the page layout algorithm will automatically reflect the changes as we re-crawl and process enough pages from your site to assess the changes.
“How long that takes will depend on several factors, including the number of pages on your site and how efficiently Googlebot can crawl the content.
“On a typical website, it can take several weeks for Googlebot to crawl and process enough pages to reflect layout changes on the site.”
Google Penalty Recovery Services
Whether you’ve been impacted by an algorithmic update or slammed by a manual penalty, Blue Corona’s SEO experts can analyze and evaluate your website as well as make recommendations and changes to recover your lost rankings, traffic, leads, and sales. Contact us today for more information on our Google penalty recovery services.
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