Panda, Penguin, Hummingbird; with all of the different Google algorithms being pushed out everyone is trying to keep in line with Google’s guidelines. Yet people are paying so much attention to the main three algorithms updates that they might have missed one of the most recent updates, the Top Heavy Algorithm.
Google’s Top Heavy Algorithm
Updated and released on the 6th February 2014, this algorithm is designed to punish web pages by downgrading them if the pages are top heavy with adverts. If the pages are distracting for web users because of too many adverts above the fold then then there is a good chance you could be hit by this algorithm update.
As those in the know will realise, this is actually an update of the very first top heavy update which was released on the 19th January 2012.
Google receives a lot of complaints about poor quality websites, if they receive lots of complaints about the same problem then they often generated an algorithm update to deal with the issue. Top Heavy advertising was one of these such cases. The user experience of a website is a big part of the ranking algorithm and too many ads above the fold can create a bad user experience, so it comes as no surprise that Google want to punish sites like this. It was reported that this update impacted fewer sites than anticipated, instead the Panda, Penguin and Hummingbird updates were the ones that caught more people out and effected their rankings and ultimately the traffic to their websites.
For most people this new change won’t be a problem but there are going to be a fair few website which could be penalised by this change.
If your website is top heavy with ads then now is the time to act and clean up your website, you will be fighting against Google if you do not and unfortunately it is a fight you can’t win if you want your website ranking highly in the SERPS.