Google’s Muffin Top update
Google’s just released another algorithm update and this time, pages that have too many ads up the top, will be penalised. It’s being referred to as a the ‘page layout algorithm’ but at DEJAN SEO, we’re calling it the Muffin Top update as it doesn’t actually have an official name.
Ever since the advent of AdSense, we’ve all had to deal with hordes of websites littered with ads, obscuring content and with a clear goal of trying to make money without a care for providing value to the end user. Top performing ads tend to be the ones highest up the top of a page and naturally, publishers seeking to maximise on ad revenue are exploiting this fact. The problem has been that content is almost hidden (or pushed so far down, no one bothers to look for it) and in turn is creating a terrible user experience because you simply don’t know where the real content is.
This update is not against publishers looking to monetise their content in general, it’s those who place ads in excess above the fold (creating the muffin top), thereby shifting real valuable content to the nether regions of the page, eroding that all important user experience. It’s up to you as a publisher to decide how much is too much (perhaps think about your own experience when browsing) – perhaps keep in mind ‘moderation’.
If you notice a drop in the coming days, then you have too much (in case it wasn’t obvious!) . But consider this a great time to review the ad placement across your webpages and make the necessary adjustments to avoid a penalty. There may be some changes in ad revenue but if it creates a better user experience which will attract more traffic and links (and avoids a penalty!), it’s worth every minute you spend on it. A handy tool that can help is Browser Size in Google Labs.
Moral of the story: Trim the fat (ads) and reduce that Muffin Top!
oh by the way, if you’re wondering why we came up with our own name for the update, it’s because Danny Sullivan asked for a name in his post about the update on Google+ . It’s not an official competition but ‘muffin top’ seems quite popular with the people!