As you probably know Google have improved their “Page Layout Algorithm” earlier this year and is penalizing websites with too many ads “Above The Fold” (the part of a webpage that’s visible without having to scroll down). It means that if you’re showing too many ads on upper half of the webpage then Google will penalize you.
“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. 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.”
Okay, that’s fine, as you want to improve the user experience. But, dear Google, have you ever looked into the ad policies of your own websites? Nowadays all I see is sponsored ads on your search results pages for those commercial keywords and you are promoting “Above The Fold Advertising” as one of your Ad Innovations here. That’s not all! Sometimes I have to watch a 1 minute ad for a 30 second video on YouTube. Isn’t it evil?
And you think nobody clicks on those sponsored ads? Think again. WordStream.com research found that sponsored ads accounts for 64.6% of all clicks for high commercial keyword searches – like insurance, loans, mortgage, credit, web hosting etc.
It’s no wonder as a research by Jakob Nielsen showed that “Web users spend 80% of their time looking at information above the page fold. Although users do scroll, they allocate only 20% of their attention below the fold.”
For High Commercial Intent Keyword Searches
- Organic results account for just 14.8% of the above-the-fold pixels.
- On average, the top 3 spots take 41.1% of the clicks on this page.
- Sponsored ads take up 85.2% of the above-the-fold pixels.
- On average, the top organic listing gets just 8.9% of the clicks.
Google have a Browser Size tool that shows what percentage of web users can see different areas of a webpage without having to scroll down. Learn more about the Browser Size tool here. But what’s more interesting is that, we can’t check Google’s own sites there.
So, I have tried few high commercial intent keyword searches on Internet Explorer & Mozilla Firefox.
On Internet Explorer – Without Any Extensions/Toolbars
On Mozilla Firefox – With A Toolbar & Bookmarks Bar
As you can see, less than 20% of the users see the organic results.
Dear Google, Is this your way of increasing the so-called ‘user experience’?