In the world of SEO, nothing scares SEO experts as much as search engine algorithms, especially Google algorithms, which is the most popular search engine in the world. Because each new update in the algorithms may affect the site rank and position and introduce a new standard for the site or content; This means that the SEO site becomes more difficult and complex.

Each of Google’s algorithms does a specific job. Algorithms have different names, which usually indicate what they are doing. They named the animals after some of Google’s most popular algorithms (such as the Panda or Penguin algorithm). Because of the same naming, the set of algorithms is called Google Zoo.

But one should not think that all Google algorithms or updates must have the name of an animal! No, there are some important Google algorithms that are less well known. Their name is long and it is not so easy. Google Algorithm or Page Layout update is an example of such algorithms.

In this article, I want to introduce you to the Google Above the Fold Page Layout Algorithm and tell you 7 important points about this update. 7 points that will be answered are the questions that what is the Page layout update? What does it do and why is it important?

What is the Google Page Layout algorithm?

Before I talk about Google Top Heavy Update (also known as Page Layout algorithm), I need to talk about Page layout and SEO relevance to other related areas. SEO is not just about linking or producing content. SEO is also related to web design. SEO needs site design and site structure to have features as well. Features that allow the user to interact easily and painlessly with the site.

The website user experience has long been important to Google. Site UX is important because it is related to user satisfaction and user satisfaction is related to Google. And a site that can not satisfy its user, can not rank well in Google search results. For this reason, one of the modern SEO techniques is user experience optimization.

Now imagine you are looking for an answer to a question and you enter a site. All you see on the site are banner ads! To get to the content you have to scroll the page and scroll down. You feel as if the site designer was more important than the site content. Well, naturally you leave that site dissatisfied. Why bother scrolling every page to get what you want, and why stay on a site where advertising has been more important than what you (the user) need?

Page Layout updates deal with those sites that include a lot of static ads in their page structure and force the user to see those ads to get the content they are looking for. So the Top Heavy algorithm deals with the structure and design of the site (page layout) and the placement of ads on the site (above the fold) and nothing else.

What is the meaning of Page Layout & Above The Fold in this update?

The web designer designs the basic structure and template of all the pages of the site. This design specifies where each element should be placed. For example, the site name and logo should be on the right and the main menu on the left or vice versa. The basic structure of each page of the site is called Page Layout.

Web designers divide each page of the site into two parts or folds according to the screen size of different devices (mobile, tablet, desktop, etc.) with a hypothetical line:

Above The Fold

From the top of the page, the user is forced to scroll the page. This means that whatever is in this section, the user will see it without scrolling.

Below The Fold

Scroll down any content and elements that the user needs to see.

What exactly does the Page Layout update do?

Let’s see exactly what this algorithm does, according to Matt Cutts (former head of Google’s Webspam team):

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.

Does Google’s Page Layout algorithm penalize sites?

Yes, the page layout algorithm penalizes sites, but not the heavy fines that result in the site not appearing in search results. This update downgrades sites that place excessive ads at the top of the pages. Of course, Google has made it possible for sites that lost rankings due to this update to correct their mistakes. That means they have to modify the site layout and remove the extra ads and try to show Google again that they are following the standard page layout algorithm.

But the point is that it may not be very fast to recover the previous rank and even take up to something like 2 years!

When did the page layout algorithm start?

In January 2012, Google officially announced a new update (Google Top Heavy) that has affected less than 1% of sites. Of course, the important thing about the page layout algorithm is that this algorithm has been updated 3 times (in October 2012, February 2014 and November 2016) and each time Google has somehow improved it in the media.

The latest algorithm update (in 2016) was very important for SEO experts. Because Google automated the page layout algorithm. That is, if a change is made to the page layout of the site or the ad at the top of the page is removed; There is no need to ask Google crawlers to come and index the changes in the console search. The algorithm monitors the changes.

Why is Google’s layout algorithm called Top Heavy?

I think the explanation I gave explains why this update is called Top Heavy, or if I want to translate it word for word. Some sites are designed in such a way that the upper part is heavily loaded with ads. After all, there are ads on all sites. But the important thing is how many of them and their place on the site page. When all the ads are put together, it becomes clear that part of the site becomes too heavy, crowded and annoying for the user.

How to optimize the site for Page Layout update?

What can SEO experts do so that the Page Out algorithm does not penalize them? That means there should be no ads on the site page at all? Naturally, the answer to this question is no. Google also knows that sites need to advertise and advertise on various sites, especially store sites. So what to do? The SEO and web design team should do the following:

  • The balance between ads and content on every page of the site must be maintained. Content, user satisfaction and user experience are paramount.
  • As far as possible, the ads can be moved to the bottom of the site (below the fold).
  • If for any reason it should be placed at the top of the ad site, its number should be very small.
  • Website design must be responsive. This means that the site design should be done according to the size of different screens. Maybe for very small screens, an ad at the top of the site will force the user to scroll.
  • The page layout algorithm does not penalize pop-ups as well as overly ads (such as banner bars at the bottom of YouTube videos).

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