Google Page Layout Algorithm: What You Need to Know

STAFF Anna Crowe 9.3K READS Editor’s note: This post is part of an ongoing series looking back at the history of Google algorithm updates. Enjoy! There are plenty of rabbit holes to fall into when it comes to Google algorithm updates. One of my favorites (after the unsolved mystery of Fred) involves the 2012 Google algorithm update on page layout and the above-the-fold movement. Like the JCPenney link building scandal, there are still plenty of people who talk about this Google algorithm update — you just have to know who to ask. But you don’t have to go digging into the archives, we’ve got you covered here. This post will tell you everything you need to know about Google’s page layout algorithm, how it has evolved over the years, and what it means to you now. What Was the Google Page Layout Algorithm? The arrival of a high-quality user experience and more sophisticated on-page SEO might have felt premature in the wake of 2011 Panda updates, but Google made it official on January 19, 2012: the page layout algorithm was here. The page layout algorithm update targeted websites with too many static advertisements above the fold. These ads would force users to scroll down the page to see content. Google said this algorithm would affect less than 1 percent of websites. But, the 1 percent of those sites affected were forced to design a better user experience. This update didn’t include pop-ups or overlay ads. Page Layout/Above the Fold Google Algorithm Update Timeline Here’s a quick snapshot of how the algorithm has changed over time: 1. January 19, 2012: Page Layout Algorithm Launched Google introduced the first-page layout algorithm update, also known as “Top Heavy” or the above the fold algorithm update, impacting sites that showed too many ads above the fold….

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