The Hypocrisy of Google’s Top Heavy Page Layout Algorithm

| 10 October 2012

If you’re not aware yet, yesterday Google rolled out yet another update, this time it’s version two of the so-called “Top Heavy” algorithm which aims to penalise websites with too many ads above the fold.  Matt Cutts made the announcement on Twitter:

I’ve not got any sites that have been affected by this update as quite a while back I realised that have too many ads ATF (above-the-fold) is not great for users, even if it is great in terms of generating money 🙂 I therefore moved all mine down.

However, whereas I can understand most of Google’s updates, although not always like them, this one has me baffled as they are acting like hypocrites.  Here are the results I see for a search for “marbella property”:

Marbella hotels on Google


So, Google is saying they don’t like it when too many ads appearing above the fold?  Should they stop for a minute and take a look at their own website for a minute?

In my example above, three large ads appear above the results, loads on the right and only two and a bit actual results appear on my screen.

And the worse thing is that like the EMD, Penguin and Panda updates, if you’ve been hit by this one no matter what you do the site won’t rank properly again until the Top Heavy algorithm runs again.  This algorithm first ran in January and then in September.  It’s a bit cruel, surely, to punish a website for that long??

Hypocrites?  You bet.

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  1. Julia says:

    They really are a pack of hypocrites. Not only that, but the Adsense team told me to put large ads above the fold & now I’ve been penalised. When I spoke to my contact at Adsense, she suggested I advertise with Adwords to get more traffic.

    I’m no longer using Google for search, I’m fed up with the hypocrisy of them. The fact that their Adsense team can give you advise on how to lay out your ads, and Panda comes along and whacks you, which results in loss of business.