• Ed Hockey

    I’m curious to see how they classify comparison engines in this then, given that the content is all essentially advertising.

  • http://www.maparu.com Matt Ruby

    This is strange coming from Google, since advertising is their bread and butter. Does this assume that sites heavily using Adwords will be penalized? I’m sure there are lots of anti-competitive things that could be problematic here. You would think that Google would stay true to the pagerank concept. If users don’t go to the sites that are heavy with advertisements or don’t link back to them because they aren’t useful, they should be filtered out automatically.

    Seems like Google is taking more control over the “open web” and only returning certain things. Not sure I agree with the approach.

  • belezamenina

    I find it ironic that a giant ad covered the entire page of this site when I tried to read this article, and I had to search for the X to close it.

  • http://www.jaankanellis.com Jaan

    LOL seriously? I would love how they determine this. Every major sports site I go to has those full page expandable ads. They will never be dinged. Smaller less authoritative sites surely will.

  • http://www.michaelaulia.com Michael Aulia

    How heavy is too heavy? Besides, Google allows publishers to have up to 3 AdSense texts/images + 3 link units on a page. They can at least lower the maximum limit if they don’t want that to happen?

  • TimmyTime

    This is setting the scene for Elephant and even more money for Google. Panda did not hit any big brand, and if they got hit by mistake Google fixed them. It just killed many small sites that were making money without paying Google.

    “I find it ironic that a giant ad covered the entire page of this site when I tried to read this article, and I had to search for the X to close it.”

    This and other pliant sites are rewarded because they are Google’s tool in keeping the average webmaster dumb as Google screws them daily. In fact if you delete the really harmful comments about Google in your forums and ban critics, even Amit Singhal will show up to your conference and promote it before hand. How’s that for a scam?

  • Chas

    So, are they going to punish YouTube? If any site is plastered with Ads, that would be it- I don’t think that any of their puppy’s will be slapped with a paper, but, they’re willing to rub everyone else’s nose in it. It probably won’t affect Yahoo!, unless they can’t swallow it. It is time to call in the FTC and FCC. Google is a monopoly that needs to be broken-up like AT&T. Here are a few sites that I can think of just off the cuff that ‘are plastered with ads’… Yahoo!, MSNBC, WSJ, Forbes, The Washington Post, The New York Times, Mashable, The Huffington Post, Techcrunch, Business Insider, and soon, G+, to name a few… anyone familiar with Anti-Trust Laws?…

  • http://www.VolkerKleinhenz.com Dr. Volker Kleinhenz

    There is no more “open web”. Google dictates that web. If you have websites and watch their performance on Webmaster Tools you will see that Google gives each site a daily quota of page impressions. How much this has to do with actual content on your site is Google’s secret and it apparently cannot be managed by modifying content alone (the latter is what Matt Cutts likes to say every other day but he is not the person who runs Google). The Google monopoly needs indeed to be broken up.

  • http://gamepitstop.com kurnia lim

    I guess 3 ads + 3 unit links will be fine, I think what Google means, you put adsense and also have affiliate banner like hostgator, amazon, etc at sidebar or elsewhere that make your site heavy ads. This will make the site looks like showing ads not content.

  • http://www.ticketnetwork.com Mike_Merritt

    If someone clicks on to a site that’s plastered with Adwords ads to the point they can’t find anything useful in the first few seconds, they’re more likely to bounce away. So that’s fewer people staying on the site for a while, meaning much less chance of clicking on those Adwords ads. And so less money for Google.

  • http://www.dsgauto.com Philip Kehoe

    I think we would welcome this in principle. As another member has already said, it does however seem a little strange given that Google itself is built on advertising income..

  • http://www.garthobrien.com/ Garth O’Brien

    Wonder if Google AdSense ads will be considered in their equation? If so, how long will that part of the algo remain active when they see a revenue dip. :)

  • http://www.gamerstube.com Joe Youngblood

    how will google know where the fold is? are they using a standardized resolution? (i.e. 1024×768) for lowest common denominator? on my computer (1440×900) the fold is very very different.

  • http://www.gamerstube.com Joe Youngblood

    @phillip, et all.

    what is strange is that Google is nothing more than a list of links (shallow) and has tons of ads on the page with an ad to content ratio of nearly 1 to 1 on most queries (8 ads + shopping block to 10 listings) and in the queries at least a handful go back to Google.

    Google is being heavily hypocritical here. If they got rid of those irritating ads above the SERPs i would be more inclined to think this was a good move.

    Their reasoning is that person hitting an annoying page won’t click the ads and will bounce back to the SERPs. If they are savvy that person might go to Bing, Blekko or DuckDuckGo to search instead.

  • http://www.seo-theory.com/ Michael Martinez

    Unless you folks are planning to start your own search engines, criticizing Google for being what it is and doing what it does is not relevant to what their proposed algorithmic shift means for non-search sites.

    Google is not being hypocritical — it is being a SEARCH ENGINE. And if anyone in the search optimization field cannot reconcile that with their feelings, then they’re not really cut out for the work.

    We were given a hint. We have time to make adjustments if we feel they are required for our sites. That’s all this should really have amounted to, not a gang-up-on-Google-because-you-can’t-optimize-for-search free-for-all.

  • http://europeforvisitors.com Durant Imboden

    CPM display advertisers typically want their ads above the fold for a simple reason: They’re paying for impressions, so it’s only reasonable and fair that their ads should be seen.

    An alternative (according to the firm that sells our ads) is to embed ads within content. I personally find such ads annoying, whether they’re display ads or the ubiquitous AdSense text ads.

  • tgoldy

    It is such a double standard. Of course we all know G makes 95% of their billions on ads with a majority coming from adsense. They are constantly sending me messages on adsense of the opportunities I am missing out on and should consider including more ads, BTW that site ranked really well, added a new line of ads as they recommended and the site was hit by Panda. Seriously!

  • http://www.gamerstube.com Joe Youngblood

    I just hope when it comes out they call it the “C.O.P.” update. (Content Obstruction Penalty) since this won’t be just on ads but other forms of annoying things like oversized forms and locked modals (CPA lead… grrrrrr)

  • annasusmiles

    What the heck does this mean?! I’m so sick of vague, easy to misinterpret information.
    Google – official statement with examples please!

    And is this Panda or some other algo?
    If Panda… whatever happened to Panda being about Duplicate content. THIS doesn’t seem to have anything to do with the Duplicate content!

  • B.F.

    annasusmiles asked “whatever happened to Panda being about Duplicate content.”

    Panda was mostly about content farms (which are created for attracting ad clicks), thus the reason Panda update is also known as Farmer update. Duplicate content is one of the indications of being a content farm. Ads above the fold could also be used as an indication of content farm since it shows that the creator of the webpage put more emphasis on ads rather than content.

  • C.M.

    @B.F IF you say ads above the fold could be an indication of content farm, this is grossly inaccurate. Even big sites like about.com, etc. all have substantial amount of ads above the fold. Google even have ads above the fold in the SERP and even I find Youtube ads more annoying as it is BLOCKING the video (which of course is the content!). This is even more worse than those heavy ad pages positioned above the fold.

    Yet they go ahead and says that publishers should better think about these ads. Really? So does Google also think that they should start removing ads blocking the video in Youtube? They can hardly do this because advertising is their main income, so as 95% of all bloggers in the Internet owning small blogs and running Ad Sense to buy their daily bread.

    What Google did not realize probably is that people have more freedom in the Internet than in the television. If you are watching a television, you cannot say no to ads, you can either wait until the regular program is resumed or change to another channel. In the internet, people can read content even with ads splattered throughout the page, its because the text content and the ads are blended together for the user to read and decide.

    What is worth penalizing is those websites that have big pop-up ads that is forcing people to engage. Now this is where user experience would be seriously affected. It is because people don’t have freedom to avoid ads but to forcibly engage to either click or close it.

    Youtube ads even belong to this category. I have experienced it many times to forcibly engage ads in Youtube in order to close it. Now tell me that how “above the fold” ads can be more annoying as compared to this? As far as I’ve seen, above the fold ads don’t forcibly engage the reader but to simply scroll down.

    Now to everyone, which is worse: To forcibly close an ad or to simply scroll down with your mouse like what happen with above the fold ads? Remember that the closing ads in Youtube is far even more tricky thing to find because it is semi-transparent and mostly colored gray. I would rather read a great text content with heavy ads above the fold because I would simply scroll down with my mouse!

    You judge.