Google updates search algorithm to downgrade pages with too many above-the-fold ads

A nice usability win for users:

As we’ve mentioned previously, 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.

We understand that placing ads above-the-fold is quite common for many websites; these ads often perform well and help publishers monetize online content. 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. This new algorithmic improvement tends to impact sites where there is only a small amount of visible content above-the-fold or relevant content is persistently pushed down by large blocks of ads.

Just adding more ads to your pages is not a good way to make more money. Better ads — ads that appeal to users and flow with content — are what is needed. Sometimes making more money from ads actually means less ads with a focus on high quality, relevant ads.

Check out what The Verge is doing with ads. Relevant, high quality ads that are visually appealing. There are no remnant ads, nor are putting more emphasis on ads than content.

Source: Google.