Google officially announced their Page Layout algorithm update on January 19th on their official blog post. I wanted publish a post about it immediately, but decided to wait till see the real changes on my blog and other inputs from different sources.
If you have larger header, bigger sized H1 fonts and more ads are located on above the fold area (which is seen by a reader without using the scroll bar in browser), then you must read this post carefully. Google gives more importance to their readers by providing as much as content in above the fold area.
Also, the famous ‘search engine land’ blog confirmed the latest Google Panda 3.2 by 18th January 2012 here on their blog post.
If you see any drop or gain on traffic from Google during this time (18th or 19th), then your blog is affected by either Google Panda 3.2 or page layout update.
I already hinted about ‘above the fold ad placement issue’ with forthcoming Google algorithm changes back in November 2011. If a website is having more ads above the fold and visitors are not finding the proper information on a page without using scrollbar, that can affect the Google search results now. Google confirmed that Page Layout algorithm change affects only less than 1% search results globally, but we are not sure how many bloggers already started to feel the pain.
My favorite blog ‘QuickOnlineTips’ reported a traffic loss after these updates which shocked me slightly. I do not think that could be by Page Layout algorithm update, because QuickOnlineTips (QOT) was having reasonable ad placements than other few sites I frequently visit.
QOT Traffic drop
The above traffic drop could be by latest Panda 3.2 too. But, we have to learn and protect our blogs from this example.
I found an interesting screenshot from comments area of Google’s official announcement for Layout update.
It was asked by a reader whether eHow will be penalized by Layout algorithm change?. Because the above page is showing very less percentage of content which is marked by green color on above the fold area.
The traffic from Google to my tech blog remains same ( in fact it slightly increased), but I experienced a sudden hike. I thought I’m lucky by these two updates, but again it went back to normal range. Anyhow, I must be happy by surveying from these two updates and maintain the same amount of traffic from Google.
(Sorry, it was 20th Friday)
Normally, by Friday the traffic will start to fall and Saturday, Sunday will be less compared to week days. But the traffic increase surprised me on 21st Saturday, though it went back to normal range later.
How to Prevent Page Layout Update Traffic Drop
It is simple, try to show as much as post content in the first view of above the fold (without scrolling down the browser).
Google suggests to check your posts in ‘Browser size tool’ which gives an rough idea about how your blog appears for most of the Google readers (based on the collected data of their screen resolution size).
Here is how my blog appears after changing few things (Removed Breadcrumbs and lowered down sidebar adsense slot) on my blog. I made these changes to protect my blog from future algorithm updates.
If you take my above example, 80% means that only 80% of Google visitors can read the particular portion of my blog post without scrolling down, So balance 20% of readers will miss what is displayed beyond that area. Still I feel I have to do some modifications to show more content on above the fold area. I will be considering these facts while customizing my theme in future.
Go to Browser size tool (which is from Google) and check your blog articles. Do not check the home page, its better to check the posts and pages. Try to show more content and make Google and your readers happy.
The Top Losers
Do you want to know the top losers by latest Page Layout Algorithm change? here is the list from Webpronews. ( Click here to view the original link)
By seeing the above list, we can make out that latest update mostly did effect the business and social networking sites.
Google can’t be so strict on this because they have a famous advertising network ‘Adsense’. Also, they suggest to place adsense ads above the fold and use all three ad blocks on a page. So what we can do as publishers who blog mostly to make money.
At the same, it is not worth to show all ads above the fold with larger header and H1 texts. Still there are so many websites show more than 3 to 4 ads above the fold and you can’t read the first sentence of an article without scrolling down. If you are falling in this category, better change it now!.
If you have a blog which gives valuable information to readers, expect organic traffic from Google and want to make money from ad networks, then you have to balance all properly.
1) You can’t get or maintain readership from readers if you show plenty of ads above the fold.
2) You can’t make more money by showing all ads in one area.
3) You can’t (most of the time) run a blog without traffic from Google. So, you have to obey Google and follow their rules.
Think about these all and make changes according to it. The changes may affect the current earning, but that will make your site more safer from future Page layout algorithm updates.
I like to hear your view on these updates. Have your blog been affected by either one of these updates? What changes you will do on your blog to protect it?