The Panda update which happened on Jan 18th, 2012 is an algorithmic update and not a usual Panda update. Though, Am making this post late, but nothing is too late to mention and let users know about it.
You might also like this:
5 Google Panda Update 3.4 for March 2012
In the recent months after the algorithmic update, many publishers have experienced drop in organic traffic. If you are facing a drop in traffic to your wonderful website. Then you fall under the category "Websites with heavy top ads".
Heavy ads above the layout hold - Watch out!!!Any website layout has two sections - Upper fold and Lower fold. The algorithmic update focuses on the upper fold of your website. Filling the top section of the layout with ads can affect the site.
Here is a snapshot of what is right and what is bad:
As you can see the two different layouts: One with ads filled above the fold and one with just one on the sidebar.
This algorithm is simple: How? The user experience is the prime importance when the land on a webpage. The user should be able to see most of the content on the land and shouldn't scroll down stacks of ads to get the content. This algorithmic update has affected only the static ads and not the pop up ads or floating ads.
Words from Google:"We’ve heard complaints from users that if they click on a result and it’s difficult to find the actual content, they aren’t happy with the experience. Rather than scrolling down the page past a slew of ads, users want to see content right away.
So sites that don’t have much content “above-the-fold” can be affected by this change. If you click on a website and the part of the website you see first either doesn’t have a lot of visible content above-the-fold or dedicates a large fraction of the site’s initial screen real estate to ads, that’s not a very good user experience.
Such sites may not rank as highly going forward."
Here is the post from Google Webmaster Blog.
How to determine sites with too many ads above fold?Google doesn't give us any tool to determine this as of now. But, you can use the browser tool to determine whether a user would see your content first or the ads first on different resolutions. If you notice that ads are blocking the way and the user needs to scroll down, then you need to change the layout flow.
Affecting 1% of overall search!Google says that "This algorithmic update is going to affect 1% of all the searches". If you have too little content or no content above the layout fold, then you are definitely in danger. You could be among the affected lot. You will easily escape this update if you have placed heavy ads below the fold.
Note: If your site was flagged with heavy ads above the fold, then not just the pages with the ads are affected but all the pages on your website is affected. All such pages will be pushed down the search results by Google.
Fixed the layout? What about the penalty?If you are already affected by this and you have updated the layout by removing or lowering the number of ads above the hold. Then, it doesn't mean the penalty will be lifted immediately. You need to be patient until your pages are re-crawled by the Google bots. It may take a week, a month or more than that. Once, Google has reviewed your pages about the corrections, then slowly the penalty will lifted until Google finds other websites with heavy top ads.
ConclusionAffected sites and future sites needs to keep this in mind that ads above the hold needs to be minimized and kept under control. You can always fill your site with ads below the fold as of now. After the correction, it can take time until the pages gain better search ranks again.
Thanks for reading the article. Hope you liked this. Stay tuned until you see more such interesting stuff from iTechColumn.