Friday, January 27, 2012

Sudden Drop in Traffic? Could be Google page layout algorithm update and Above the folds ads.

Recently Google made new update called helpful content update which reminded me of page layout algorithm improvement update that targets website, blogs having excessive ads on Above the fold page area. if you are experiencing sudden traffic drop from last few months starting from August , you are most likely affected by Google Helpful Content update which is quite similar to Google page layout algorithm update. This Recent Google search update is causing severe drop more than half of normal traffic to various sites and blogs which has two or three ads around header and above the fold area. here are important points I have read and collected regarding Google page layout algorithm update and how it affecting various sites and blog:

Google page layout algorithm update and Above the folds ads.

1) Google Page layout Algorithm improvement update was done around 19th- 20th January 2012. So if your website traffic is down or reducing from that period and you have ads above the fold you may be affected by this Google update.

2) Search engine rankings are reordered, no matter whether you are logged in or not, based on page layout algorithm update. so you see sites ranking down which has more ads on above the fold or there is absolute or minimal unique content above the fold.

3) How many ads are excessive, which positions are crucial is not very clear but what I read from matt cuts update all over
internet is that is not the number of ads above the fold but how the whole area above the fold is used matter. so if you have
some ads but lot of unique content above the fold you may not be affected by this page layout algorithm update.

What to do if you have affected by Google page layout algorithm update:

Google page layout algorithm update and Above the folds ads traffic drop
As I said if you see traffic going down from last week around 19th - 20th January than chances are that you are affected with Google above the fold issue. here are few suggestion you can take which may work in your favour and get your site out of above the fold penalty Google page algorithm layout is imposing:

1) keep only one ad above the fold. you may keep two if your ad size are less (just an observation).
2) change your page layout so that more unique content is available above the fold.
3) Use browser tool to see how much content is available above the fold.
4) reduce header size.
5) if you have blog than make sure title of post should be clearly visible above the fold along with some content.

There are just my observation and worked well for some of my friends who were affected by Google Above the fold update and it may also work in your blog, please try and let us know if it works so that other blogger and publisher may benefit.

Matt cutt pointed out that once page layout is update , this algorithm takes that change when Google bot crawls your site and depends upon how many pages you have in your blog and website it may take few days or few weeks. My suggestion is update your page layout now and wait for Google bot crawling your site or blog and hope for best.

Open questions regarding Page layout algorithm update

There are lot of open questions relate to this recent Google algorithm update which I don't know answer and hopefully things will be more clear after few days when webmasters and publisher will write there experiences:

1) Does ads means only adsense or other other ad network also?
2) will text ads exempted ?
3) which side of page layout is more important for content. (my guess is left side for content and right side for ad)
4) how many ads are normal and how many are more ?
5) how Google is identifying does it looking for JavaScript code in HTML file ?
6) does position of JavaScript matters in HTML file or in template ? ( I guess yes and to safe than sorry have it on bottom).

let us know what's your thought on these questions and what is your experiment with recent Google page layout algorithm update and above the fold ads issue.

read official Google page layout update post here

Now, Google Helpful content update is not exactly the same as this update but there are lot of things you can learn as I heard and experienced that affiliate links and above the folds are main reasons why most of the sites has been lost traffic and in fact losing traffic every passing day and every passing weak. My sites have also lost significant traffic and if I found any resolution, I will share with you guys here. 

You can also find more information about Google Helpful content update here

All the best and if you are also affected by Google Helpful Content update then feel free to share your experience with us in comments. 


Anonymous said...

How to find if your site is affected by google page layout update? I am seeing drop in my traffic but not sure whether its due to above the folds ads because many sites has above the fold ad or due to any other reason . please help.

Den said...

This is exactly what happened to me: 5 blogs, same template (2 adsense ads in the header), massive traffic drop during past few weeks.

Anonymous said...

I lost all my traffic on 19th january so i started to explore and found out about the algo update. But the thing is i dont have any google ads, its a review site with one affiliate link above the fold. Should i get rid of that link as well? One more thing, how much time will it take google to register the changes i made?

Anonymous said...

is there any way to recover from google page layout or google panda update ? how long it take to recover and does recovery requires any change on site structure ?

Javin @ google pr update said...

@Anonymous, yes I would suggest to get rid of any ad above the fold which takes large space. point is at-least 60% content should be available above the fold.

Javin @ select query example said...

@mara, try submitting Reconsideration request to google, it may help you.

javin paul said...

@Marc, Traffic hasn't come back yet, that was a glitch on blogger status blog which was showing traffic back to normal and even more just after few hours of change but as per google analytic there traffic hasn't back, but even though those are my thoughts that could work in favor but truth only time will tell.

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