It's not just about ads
The main focus of this algorithm appeared initially to tackle websites that utilised the above the fold content to generate revenue from advertising – funnily enough there is a great article by Danny Sullivan on Search Engine Land from the roll out in January 2012 which allocated a portion of the article to claiming Google as a hypocrite considering their use of Adwords in search. Anyhow, yes the update seems to be focussed on preventing the pursuit of revenue via adverts from ruining the user’s experience of a website. However, as above, the core of the Top Heavy Update is Google encouraging webmasters to think more carefully about how they can put the user first. It is in everybody’s interest. If a website offers a great user experience they are more likely to convert visitors into customers and Google is able to provide users with search results that offer the greatest value for the user. Believe it or not, at the time a lot of webmasters were not focussing on the user and whilst that may still be the case with many websites there has definitely been a change in mindset in how to display content to users in the years since the roll out of the Page Layout algorithm. A fairly recent example of this is the discounting of tabbed or accordian content on sites due to the fact that it is not displayed to the user straight away.
Therefore, even if you do not have any advertising on your site, this update can teach a valuable lesson in how Google wants websites to provide content to their users. Simply put, the user should be able to find the content that they are searching for quickly, easily and without having to scroll excessively or work out where the hidden content is!
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