Google’s Above the Fold Clarification

Google’s Above the Fold Clarification : Size Matter!

In a  Google+ hangout video chat session, Matt Cutts clarified how Google’s above the fold penalization will work as many people was wondering if the number of ads will cause an issue, but that’s not the case. The new algorithm inspects pages to see how much  space is used to display advertisements above the fold, so it’s all about the size of  ads, not actually the number of ads that are showing on the page.

A very interesting thing is Google will penalize the entire site if there is too much space used to display ads, especially above the fold.

Matt Cutts actually took two yellow stickies and put them on the top of a standard 8.5 x 11 sheet of paper and indicated that even if this space was just one big ad it is too much and could be impacted by Google’s new algorithm change.

Now that you know it’s not about the quantity of advertisements

Take it easy here!

This doesn’t mean you can display a lot of ads on your site, no one will recommend this for you. But, here is something strange… Google contacted me this week and asked me to add more spots on this blog because they indicate I am only showing two ad spots. I am sure many of you are getting the same advice from Google!

So, the question here is, should you go and add more ads on your blog?

Increase your revenue by deciding the best way to display your ads

Focus on content visibility, structure, layout, and navigation of your site or blog, be careful when choosing placement of ads.

Here is a video by Google that may help you increase your revenue by deciding the best way to display your ads on the page.


How you will respond to Google’s Above the Fold update?

I create websites with WordPress, and I develop Thesis Skins. I am a social network lover. I am also the night creature who works hard to keep this project up. Owner and founder of the Famous Blog.


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{ 37 comments… add one }
  • Christa Joe
    November 26, 2012, 6:27 am

    Seems like Google is not allowing to squeeze the content of the pages so that users could access the information in more precise and compact manner.
    Christa Joe recently posted..Advantages of Virtual Machines in BusinessesMy Profile

  • Don February 11, 2012, 5:50 pm

    Ya there has been a lot of rumors about this exact issue. Sounds like we all need to be careful about how much ad space we allow… guess it makes sense anyway, we should not be overusing that space for ads. Thanks for info.

  • Kat February 4, 2012, 10:28 am

    I think Google wants to create a better experience for visitors: supply better content where the visitor actually gets the info. they seek without the hindrance of excessive ads right in their face. Less scrolling around ads to locate requested info. is the goal.

    I, too, get occasional messages from Google informing me that I am missing out on several Adsense opportunities. When Google sends me their message regarding placement of more ads, they are telling me I have pages within my site that don’t contain up to their 3 allowed ad units. Not necessarily telling me to fill up my site with their ads.

  • Dan Lew
    January 31, 2012, 3:43 am

    I think above the fold is very effective with Google ads cause many times the user is searching and wants an answer quick, if they found your page in Google search and they see relevant Google text ads for example they will most likely click on it cause its directly there without having to scroll down.
    Dan Lew recently posted..Is There a Best Time to Blog or Publish Blog Posts? [Report]My Profile

  • abhiz
    January 30, 2012, 11:10 am

    Hello Hesham thanks for this great tutorial and adsense video tips

  • Ileane
    January 30, 2012, 5:44 am

    Hi Hesham, Thanks for sharing this talk and the video. Now I have a question about the ad in my blog header. It seems like Google doesn’t recommend that placement, what do you think?
    Ileane recently posted..Podcasting Gear and Ms. Ileane Speaks on iTunesMy Profile

    • Hesham Zebida January 30, 2012, 3:22 pm

      The ad on your blog header is fine, however it maybe not converting well, you just need to do a little test to figure it out!

      P.S. the BlogSkin has a widget right below the navigation, I’ve added this one for banners , see this page on the demo side as an example, you can use a simple text widget to display your ad on that spot!

  • Caleb
    January 28, 2012, 10:58 pm

    To answer your question on should we add more ads, it seems one should only do so if Google does the asking as in your case!

    But according to the main video you have in the posts, I am within their limits with my top 728×90.

    One interesting caveat that was smoothly thrown in there was this doesn’t just relate to Google Adsense ads but “other ads” as well..
    Caleb recently posted..How These 3 Bloggers Make Money OnlineMy Profile

  • Saket Jajodia
    January 28, 2012, 6:14 am

    I never understand what actually Google wants and trying to do.. From one they tell don’t and from other side they tell to do.. Really confusing.. Anyways from almost an year now I am showing 1 ad above post and 1 below post and 1 in sidebar.. above the post ad is performing btr dn rest of the two.. and no-mood in changing them..

  • Denise Smith January 27, 2012, 1:02 pm

    How will this affect websites that rely on ads as their sole source of revenue? Example, small start-up “news/content” websites.
    Denise Smith recently posted..10 Tips to Optimize Your e-Commerse SiteMy Profile

  • Denise Smith January 27, 2012, 12:59 pm

    Just wondering how you see this affecting websites that rely on ads as their sole source of revenue? For instance, for a brand new (start-up), SMALL local news or content website…what kind of impact will this have on their search visibility?
    Denise Smith recently posted..10 Tips to Optimize Your e-Commerse SiteMy Profile

  • Abhi Balani
    January 27, 2012, 7:15 am

    Very nice video, helpful. I cannot believe Google itself ask their users to increase ads. LOL

    But Google is not approving me for adsense. Reason : Unacceptable content. Have a look to oddblogger . com and let me know if you find anything un-acceptable there.

  • Jane
    January 26, 2012, 10:46 pm

    There should be some restriction on the amount of space that can be utilized for advertisement in a blog post. This will do a lot of good for audience to get a decent view of the page.

  • Mark January 26, 2012, 6:14 pm

    I know a lot of SEO professionals have been worried about this. I know that it’s hard seeing all these algorithm changes but I for one think the cleaning up of spam like this is a plus even if it causes us discomfort. The only thing I’m worried about is Google killing small businesses in favor of the large ones.

    • Hesham Zebida January 26, 2012, 6:30 pm

      This has nothing to do with SEOs, no one will recommend add tons of advertisements to any site owner, or then they are kidding you!

  • Brad
    January 26, 2012, 3:58 pm

    Of course google is saying add more ad units. It’s how they make $$. You make more $, they make more $$.

    There is still so many made for Adsense websites and that makes me sick. There hard to report and google never seems to respond to the complaints anyways.

    It’s why my site is currently ad free.
    Brad recently posted..Google Streamlining its privacy policy by March, 1, 2012My Profile

  • Sefati
    January 26, 2012, 2:08 pm

    great google trying to rule the world 🙂

    • Hesham Zebida January 26, 2012, 5:36 pm

      So true, there must be a hidden benefits for Google!

      • Sefati
        January 26, 2012, 10:24 pm

        ya they want advertisers to spend more money on adwords and less on banner ads and affiliate stuff…that makes me realize that google doesn’t really like affiliates.
        Sefati recently posted..SEO NewsMy Profile

  • Jacko
    January 26, 2012, 1:24 pm

    Too many ads is a problem people will think you have a spam website. two above the fold one under is plenty. How do you plan on using google+ in 2012? Is it working for you?
    Jacko recently posted..SOTUMy Profile

    • Hesham Zebida January 26, 2012, 5:43 pm

      The question is off topic, I don’t have plans for now, I need to figure out what I will eat today first 🙂

  • Jamie Northrup
    January 26, 2012, 12:02 pm

    Putting too many ads won’t help people click on them, it will just scare them away, the best is to have fewer ads and make them targeted to your readers, you are much more likely to convert.
    Jamie Northrup recently posted..Nevermind SEO, How Much Traffic Do Blog Comments Bring Me?My Profile

  • Chris
    January 26, 2012, 11:46 am

    Pretty helpful video actually 🙂 Didn’t the maximum number of ads per page use to be 5 though? Or am I imagining that haha.
    Chris recently posted..A list of Social Exchange WebsitesMy Profile

    • Hesham Zebida January 26, 2012, 5:41 pm

      That’s for Google AdSense maybe, but in fact you can run more ads from other networks!

  • Bhupendra
    January 26, 2012, 11:39 am

    Awesome post. Loved the video on Adsense placement. this is best way to monetize your blog with space used to display ads, especially above the fold.
    Bhupendra recently posted..Top Alternative of Google AdsenseMy Profile

  • Geoff Vincent
    January 26, 2012, 10:49 am

    This google change hurt my site a bit and your blog and accompanying video are very helpful as I attempt to resolve.

    An approach that i going to take is to redesign key pages on my site focused 100% on user experience. I’ll do this by initially doing the redesign with NO ads in it and only after I feel like I have a great page then I’ll insert the ads.

    Geoff Vincent recently posted..What’s driving Tim Horton’s new naming schema? Not Starbuck’s.My Profile

    • Hesham Zebida January 26, 2012, 5:40 pm

      Focusing on user experience is good, it will surely pay off!

      I am actually having a new design in my development copy the blog, trying to make it more clean! I am doing my best to reduce advertisements on the blog, one technique is to actually increase prices!

  • Paul Salmon
    January 26, 2012, 10:29 am

    Since I heard about Google’s latest algorithm change I have been thinking about how my ads are placed. Then again, I have always been thinking about my ads and the lack of user experience that they are providing within each post.
    Paul Salmon recently posted..Differences Between LCD, Plasma and LED TelevisionsMy Profile

    • Hesham Zebida January 26, 2012, 10:36 am

      Hi Paul ,

      I think this is general, all of use probably have concerns and still confused, especially those who display heavy ads!

      But I think Matt’s clarification is quite good enough to understand how Google will punish sites that are crossing the red lines!!

  • David
    January 26, 2012, 9:57 am

    This totally sucks. Now when I land on a new page, the first thing I am looking for is how full is it with ads. It’s like having a song stuck in my head.
    David recently posted..Reputation Management: How Suze Orman Jeopardized HersMy Profile

    • Hesham Zebida January 26, 2012, 10:29 am

      I think webmasters and websites owners should consider reducing ads on their blogs, it’s even better for conversion!

  • Dave Lucas
    January 26, 2012, 8:35 am

    Well, darn it, now I am confused. Does my blog look okay? Am I violating the rules in either direction? One more thing to worry about besides facebook forcing that timeline thing down our throats!

    • Hesham Zebida January 26, 2012, 10:31 am

      I think you are good Dave, you only have two small ads on top of fold, this shouldn’t be an issue!

  • DiTesco
    January 26, 2012, 8:02 am

    Good thing you put this up buddy. I think it is very important to clarify certain situations like this, specially because it generated an awful lot of doubts in the community. Size instead of quantity does make a difference, although IMO, the general idea is to make the “content” visible for better user experience. Great stuff..
    DiTesco recently posted..Best WordPress SEO Plugins For 2012My Profile

    • Hesham Zebida January 26, 2012, 8:12 am

      Yes buddy, it makes a lot of difference, the good thing about this change is webmaster will think twice about ads spaces and probably placement.

      You know? I dream of ads free site, maybe one day!

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