Google Panda Slaps Advertising Top-Heavy Sites

Is Your Blog Top Heavy With Ads?

In another move to further improve the visitor experience, Google has announced that their algorithm will now penalize sites that run too many ads “above the fold”.

What does that mean?

It means that if you have a website that, when viewed at a normal (not high) quality monitor size, has the content pushed down low on the first part of the site you see when the page loads… you may have a problem.

Check out your site, using Google’s Browser Size tool, to see how your website would look under different screen resolutions. (Pro Tip: I suggest checking it at 1024 x 768 and 1280 x 1024)

Google says this impacts less than 1% of search results. But many heavy marketers are shouting that this affects millions.

It’s true of course that we’ve all hit a site that is “over the top” with ads and often has not just one advertising box but TWO before the article starts.

Me personally, I’m not a fan of embedding a lot of adsense within a post as it makes the user scroll around it… but that’s just me, and what do I know :)

Google specifically says: “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.”

So it sounds like sites running an ad in the header probably will be unaffected unless they are running a lot of ads elsewhere. Whew!

What is not clarified is whether sites with HUGE header images at the top will be shielded or counted as a false positive. We’ve seen a trend towards reduced header total size and that is probably a good thing in light of this.

Its worth considering that optin boxes sitting under the header probably are going to count as ads (for good reason). This is making me reconsider if I will turn back on the optin box I have coded that sits below the header but above the content (full-width).

I probably will as I run few ads but others might think twice.

As I mentioned in “3 Google SEO Changes That Rattle SEOs and Bloggers Alike!“, Google is really pushing back both on so-called “traditional SEO” and also on micro-niche sites that are adsense trips. But because of this, it’s possible for an unsuspecting blogger to get caught in the middle accidentally if they don’t follow some basic tips.

Does this mean that some people that are using Google’s own product, Adsense, are going to be penalized? Sure does. (And in my opinion for good reason.)

But site owners have a choice of how much they use on their site and where they place them so it’s logical both that some have “gone to far” and that those that have can probably reasonably easy return to a more visitor-friendly level.

Google has to walk the fine line of creating enough advertising clicks via affiliates with keeping a very happy searcher audience. Not an easy thing to do!

(Don’t think there is not some irony however that the search results page on is ad heavy!)

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