Google Algorithm Change

Here Comes the Latest Google Algorithm Change

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Recently Google launched a Page layout algorithm improvement. Google are always emphasising the importance of delivering internet searchers a high-quality experience. They want the top ranking sites to be interesting and useful (and preferably both) to the searcher. So the quality and originality of your content has always been a factor in ranking highly in Google but now they are doing something a bit different with the launch of this latest algorithm change. The new algorithm is looking at where the good, original content is located on the first page a user sees when they click your link in the search engine results.

As an aside, understanding original content is easy for most of us humans (although for a machine some of those shady spun articles still seem to pass the “originality” contest) but just in case there’s any confusion – good quality content is not about any great literary talent but more about useful information – not a sales pitch – and some “value” to the reader, either by giving a different perspective on a topic, providing advice, a review of a product etc. And of course, it goes without saying (but I will anyway) that it will be written in good English, not be stuffed full of keywords and definitely no adverts impeding the smooth flow of content.

But back to the new algorithm…

It has been designed to assess the layout of the content on the page and make an opinion on how much the searcher will see immediately they land on the page i.e. without having to scroll down. We’ve all seen those pages where it is genuinely hard to pick out the content from the adverts – personally I immediately go elsewhere so I can’t imagine those sites get very good conversion rates but then maybe they are not worried because they are making a profit from the unsuspecting advertisers and don’t need anyone to view their content. Well they should be worried now because these are exactly the sorts of sites Google is targeting so this change can only make the web a better place for all of us.

But how will Google’s new algorithm affect my site? You’re probably wondering the same as me. Well I can make an educated guess at this stage and only time will tell what the results will be as the change starts to take effect.

In essence your landing pages will now be judged on the quality AND quantity of content “above-the-fold” in an attempt to reduce the rankings of sites full of ads in the top half of their pages. But there are many good sites that have images, calls-to-action etc. in the top half to entice the reader to look further and the detailed content is further down. It will be interesting to see how they are affected and whether the Google algorithm can distinguish between ads and genuine images and links relevant to the site’s business.
Google has estimated that in only 1% of global search results will the position of a site be affected by this change so that gives me confidence that they can distinguish an excess of ads from genuine images, buttons etc. But if you are affected you will need to get more content “above-the-fold”, and quickly.
The “above-the-fold” definition may seem a bit woolly but there are plenty of screen resolution simulators that will help you view your website at the appropriate resolution for a smartphone, laptop or tablet.

But don’t get too hung up on changing your site just yet – this is only one of hundreds of changes Google are likely to make to their algorithm in the coming year.

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