On February 2014, Google rolled out another update for its Page Layout algorithm, also known as Top Heavy. The third version was a refresh to detect new pages with too many distracting ads within, especially “above the fold” or the first items on the screen that is viewable after a user clicks on the link in the SERPs. The team developed the filter due to complaints they received from users who were bombarded with promotions and had to scroll all the way down a website to view actual content.
Matt Cutts took to Twitter to confirm that Page Layout #3 did roll out in February and was a refresh of the algorithm. The announcement implied that no additional signals were introduced; the filter only ran through the primary index to look for new pages that may have violated their quality guidelines.
Similar to Page Layout #2 which was implemented in October 2012, no specific modifications were announced for the third update of the algorithm. The filter’s primary role is to assess a website’s layout and evaluate whether there’s an appropriate amount of ads and content or if it’s imbalanced.
Page Layout #2 affected approximately 0.7 percent of English searches. However, Google did not provide the scope of Page Layout #3’s impact on queries. There wasn’t much chatter in the forums about this update, though, unlike when subsequent versions of the Panda and Penguin algorithms rolled out. This could mean that the refresh did not have a significant effect on the SERPs.
Site operators that focused too much on revenue through advertisements suffered tremendous losses in rankings and traffic volume for their domains, not just a few pages when the algorithm first launched. The underlying assumption is that websites should provide valuable content to users first; profit through promotions should come second.
Nowadays, there are a lot of factors that affect your site’s Google ranking. One main area you should focus on is your on-page SEO which involves maximizing your HTML tags, content, URLs, site speed, and links to ensure that you get the most clicks out of each page.
Here’s an in-depth look at each on-page SEO element: