Google makes changes algorithm to penalise websites for spamming users with adverts
Google have introduced a new page layout algorithm improvement.
Google is of course known for its on-going efforts to improve search results, this is to help their users find high-quality content from the websites listed in their search results. To this end they have recently launched an algorithmic change that looks at the layout of a webpage, and the amount of content the user sees on the page once they click on a search result.
“We’ve heard complaints from users that if they click on a result and it’s difficult to find the actual content, they aren’t happy with the experience.” Google reports on a slew of complaints they have received in recent months. They go on to say “Rather than scrolling down the page past a slew of ads, users want to see content right away. So sites that don’t have much content “above-the-fold” can be affected by this change.” The new feature is designed to penalise those sights that do not show relevant content above the line at the bottom of the user’s page or “Above-the-fold”.
Problematically, this line is apparently different depending on how large the user’s resolution is. So how Google have chosen to define what really counts as “above” isn’t as clear as one might hope. Common sense would suggest it will most likely be dependent on the average resolution of the websites own user base, whether this is the case, Google have not stated. They do say this change will affect less than 1% of all its pages, but even 1% of Google’s listings has to be in the billions, therefore it has to be remembered that while 1% is small in relative terms, it still accounts for a large number of web pages.
What does this mean for users?
For users this is a great improvement and Google is to be commended by them, No user likes to be spammed with adverts when visiting any website, so for the users, this is only a user enhancing experience, less ads and more content. I doubt any sane internet surfer could argue with that, unless their favourite website is penalized, but there is always bookmarks to get around that.
What does this mean for webmasters and developers?
This is certainly the more important question. Whether you consider Google’s new changes fair or not is not really up for debate here, as this change clearly improves overall user experience. What it does mean is that web designers/developers and webmasters will have to be more selective over their strategy when it comes to advertising. Web developers will now have to consider carefully where they place a websites search engine readable content in relation to the websites cash cows.
Although many websites already take this into consideration to deliver the best user experience they can, this is clearly not the case for all websites, and many of them have been happy to game the search engines by hiding content at the bottom of a page below a large field of advertisements, making any visitors fight their way through them, before reaching what they want to see. Forcing websites to comply with this kind of standard will hopefully improve overall website design in order to appeal to the search engines new changes and improve user experience.
Google has commented that this is only one of over 500 new changes they are making during the next 12 months, which means that website designers better stay on top of their game if they want to stay on top of Google’s listings. This year is looking to be a big one for Google, with Google Plus still on the rise and rolling out so many new features, exciting times are ahead in the world of the internet.