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Google’s Latest Algorithm Change: Page Layout

Posted by Avasoft Team | Posted in Content Writing, Site Traffic | Posted on 19-03-2012

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Google is constantly looking for ways to improve their users’ experiences, and the way they do this is by changing the algorithms.  Of course owning a website and understanding exactly why your site appears (or doesn’t appear) in Google searches are often two different things.  With many website owners, you toss out words like “algorithms,” and their eyes start glazing over as their mind begins to wander.

Algorithms are the mathematical equations and codes that determine whose website appears where on Google’s search results when certain keywords are typed in.  In the past, the algorithm changes were largely about the text and content on the page, but as of January of this year, Google has begun weighing other features of websites more heavily when deciding where to rank sites in their search results.

According to webmasters at Google, they had been receiving many complaints from users about sites that made it too difficult to find the content they were looking for.  Users would say that sometimes when they clicked on a site with a description that really sounded like what they were looking for, they were unhappy because there were so many ads on the page that they could not find the information they were looking for.

Internet users don’t generally want to scroll down a page to look carefully for the content they want.  If they don’t see it right away, they’re going to click the back button and go to another site that makes it easier to find the information they are looking for.

The biggest culprit of users not being able to find content is advertising, and many website owners have ads that are, as Google terms them, “above the fold.”  This latest algorithm change by Google now penalizes websites that do not have a lot of content above the fold.  This means websites that don’t have much written content that’s visible on the page without scrolling when you click to it.

Of course it is quite common for some website owners to place advertisements above the fold, and it’s easy to see why.  Most people who own a website have monetized it, and the ads that make them the most money are usually those that are located on the page above the fold.  However, Google’s recent change is targeting those sites that have too many ads above the fold.  This means that sites which use their space wisely and have few ads above the fold should not be affected by the latest algorithm change.  It is certainly normal to have some ads above the fold, but all of your relevant content should be easily accessible without the user having to scroll to find what he or she is looking for.

Google does not believe that this latest update has changed search results drastically.  They believe that less than 1 percent of searches worldwide would be affected by this change.  Website owners who believe that their site has been affected by this recent algorithm change should take some time to look at their site’s overall layout.  They should look at how the space located above the fold on their website is used.  If the site’s real content is too hard to locate, then it probably is time for an adjustment to the layout.  Google has a browser size tool and other tools you can use to see how your website looks on other screen resolutions.  This is an important thing that is often overlooked by website owners.  It is too easy to get caught up on how the site looks on your own screen and forget that other people don’t have the same computer or monitor as you.  Many people don’t even use the same browser you use.  So these are all things to take into consideration when trying to determine precisely where the fold of your website falls.  If you do decide to change your page’s website, Google’s algorithm will automatically process the change and reorder search results accordingly when they crawl your site the next time.