Google Makes More Changes -- Page Layout This Time

Real Estate Agent with Gracious Living Realty VA 0225199024

Google announced more changes last week, related to the amount of advertising that appears "above the fold" on a web page.

Their "Distinguished Engineer" Matt Cutts, said "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. If you click on a website and the part of the website you see first either doesn't have a lot of visible content above-the-fold or dedicates a large fraction of the site's initial screen real estate to ads, that's not a very good user experience. Such sites may not rank as highly going forward."

He went on to clarify that this isn't about the number of advertisements, but rather about how much space they take up.  For most real estate websites this may not be a big issue as they don't usually devote much space to external advertising, but there are some sites that have been affected that are widely used by agents.  Matt Cutts  published a list of these including Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, MySpace and LinkedIn.  If these are going to figure less prominently in search results, there could well be a knock-on effect for their users.

As always, the message is that websites should be about good quality, informative content and should focus on what the visitor wants to know.  As Google's Cutts says "Overall, our advice for publishers continues to be to focus on delivering the best possible user experience on your websites and not to focus on specific algorithm tweaks. This change is just one of the over 500 improvements we expect to roll out to search this year."

Comments (7)

Curtis Van Carter
Better Homes & Gardens Wine Country Group - Yountville, CA
Your Napa Valley Broker Extraordinaire


Seems to be always something new with Google every day. Thanks for pointing this out even though it doesn't have impact for me. cheers cvc

Jan 28, 2012 04:49 AM
Chris Lewis
Gracious Living Realty - Front Royal, VA
I want to SELL your home, not LIST it!

Curtis - As Matt Cutts, said - they will make over 500 changes this year so that's more than 1 a day!

Jan 28, 2012 05:10 AM
Suzanne McLaughlin
Sabinske & Associates, Inc. (Albertville, St. Michael) - Saint Michael, MN
Sabinske & Associates, Realtor

I think there are new regulations, too, that we must agree to.  I got an email yesterday and just scanned it.  

Thanks, Chris.

Jan 28, 2012 08:27 AM
Ralph Janisch ABR CRS Broker
Janisch & Co. - Conroe, TX
Selling Northwest Houston to good people like you!

Quality information and writing is always king!  Write well and write often and it will pay off in huge results.  And remember to use your keywords and key phrases in an informative way.  I'm not too much on the ads part of a website.

Jan 28, 2012 02:53 PM
Chris Lewis
Gracious Living Realty - Front Royal, VA
I want to SELL your home, not LIST it!

Suzanne - Yes, there are revisions to the privacy rules for Google - they are trying to standardize across their product range.

Jeanne and Ralph - You're absolutely right.  I write a number of blogs for clients and always work to the basic rules of SEO.  I don't use ads on our real estate websites, but I do wonder if Google may eventually start to penalize heavy use of banners and images.  Their concern seems to be that people should not have to scroll down to get to informative content and there are a lot of templates that take up almost the whole space above the fold with graphic images and videos.

Jan 29, 2012 06:28 AM
Gita Bantwal
RE/MAX Centre Realtors - Warwick, PA
REALTOR,ABR,CRS,SRES,GRI - Bucks County & Philadel

Thanks for the  good information. I hope people  will read it.

Jan 30, 2012 11:11 PM
David Artigliere
Reading, Pottstown, Norristown, Philadelphia - Collegeville, PA
ARTI Home Inspections, ASHI Certified Home Inspect

Chris- thanks for this update.. I'm glad I could get there information on ActiveRain!

Feb 07, 2012 05:22 AM