Matt Cutts has been in a telling mood! He made a post on Google Webmaster Central Blog titled Page Layout Algorithm Improvement where he said, sites that don’t have much content “above-the-fold” can be affected by this change. This is why the SEO community is calling this the Above the Fold Page Layout Algorithm Update. Shortly after publishing his blog post, Cutts posted this tweet
Minor weather report: Update of goo.gl/OpIDL launching today. ~0.7% of English queries noticeably affected.
— Matt Cutts (@mattcutts) October 9, 2012
What is the Page Layout Algo All About?
Basically, this means that websites that have too many ads, affiliate links, and even outbound links above the fold will be negativity by this update. The area above the fold of your website should be reserved for content and preferably the content that the user who landed on that page was looking for.
How to Recover if you Were Affected
Simple, just move your ads below the fold. It’s okay if you have 1 or 2 small ads up there but really you should put your content first and then place your ads toward the bottom of the page. You will probably have to sacrifice conversions because your ads will be less visible. That being said, Google also tracks page scrolling and will reward you if the user scrolls through the whole page so the object should be to give the user what they want above the fold and then entice them to scroll down to finish checking out the rest of the content and to check out your ads. This is a bit trickier for porn sites but I feel like this update will have a heavy impact on porn SEO.
Again, you should not have to remove all ads or outbound links that are above the fold just minimize them. Here’s what Matt Cutts said about this: This algorithmic change does not affect sites who place ads above-the-fold to a normal degree.