web development for search engine optimization

Google Above-the-Fold Algo Update #2

On November 1, 2012 I was invited to speak at SEMCLT about the second Google Above-the-fold algorithm update.

This was a recent algo update that penalized websites who displayed advertisements too high on their pages. What is “too high”? google offered a suggestion to us:


This image shows a percentage of people who use various screen resolutions. It shows us that more than half of people use a screen resolution less than 1250 x 600. How does this relate to this algo update? It means that you need to place your adds below 600 pixels of your website’s height in order to not show your adds “too high” and fall under this Google algorithmic penalty.

The irony of this update is that it contradicted the advice Google itself was giving to maximize the potential for a site to earn revenue through AdSense. Google suggested AdSense users should display ads higher-up on a page in order to maximize ad revenue. Here’s their suggested ad placement on an average website:


As you can see (by the darker colors of orange) Google AdSense is suggesting that its users place ads higher on the page for better revenue. Perhaps this is more clear if you view AdSense’s suggestions in light of average screen resolutions by using this tool (which also goes into AdSense’s suggestions for ad placements on specific kinds of sites such as blogs, forums, and news websites).

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