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Andy Brice
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Patrick McKenzie
Bingo Card Creator

New Google Page-Fold Algorithm For Search Penalizes Web pages

For several years our website's front page and main product page ( http://www.florencesoft.com/compare-excel-workbooks-differences.html ) ranked easily within the top half of Google's first page for several search terms (compare excel workbooks, compare excel worksheets...)

In late January / early February 2013, our front page and product page went to page 5 and worse.

We were quite surprised as the only changes we made was to move our website to faster web hosting. The content was pretty much unchanged.

Our web traffic dropped a fair bit as well, but we still have decent traffic - probably quite a lot of people know our product by name now.

Anyway we think we know what caused it now.

On 19th January 2013, Google launched their page fold algorithm. It penalizes web pages with graphics at the top as Google says these cause a bad user-experience.

We had two screenshots of our software product at the top of our index page and product page. We are pretty sure these were penalized by Google's Page Fold algorithm.

The term page fold comes from the newspaper industry and refers to the part of the newspaper page after the physical page fold.

Needless to say now, we have moved our two screenshots either to the bottom of the page or to the middle.

Google say their Page Fold penalties only apply to 1% of web searches. Unfortunately for us we seem to have been in that 1%.

Anyway the take-home message is that if your Google search ranking has decreased in the last month, it may be because you have screenshots or graphics near the top of your web pages.

If you look at our website, you will see we use the Microsoft language translator widget. For our help page, we put this widget horizontally at the top, rather than on the right-hand side as there it decreased the page width and we wanted a good page width as the help page contains a lot of text.

Unfortunately, again, having a widget at the top of the web-page will decrease the text above Google's hypothetical page fold and penalize the web page. So we removed it.
NewToASPX Send private email
Monday, February 18, 2013
How about your banner then? Isn't that a graphic?
cn Send private email
Monday, February 18, 2013
So what happened after you made the changes to your site? Are you back on Page 1 now?
Shawn O'Hern Send private email
Tuesday, February 19, 2013
>So what happened after you made the changes to your site? > > Are
> you back on Page 1 now?

We only moved down the two screenshots a couple of days ago.

It might take Google a week or two or even a month before they update their servers to take this into account.

No, we are not back on page 1. On bing.com, for the same search terms we are on page 1.

When I posted to a Google forum about this, some commentators said our website was still on the 1st page, while others said it was on page 5 and beyond.

I think that at any one time Google servers aren't in sync with each other and some have older data than others. That or it is personalized search. Hence some people saw our old page ranking and some people saw one new page ranking. But who knows?
NewToASPX Send private email
Tuesday, February 19, 2013
If your sig links to the Web site in question, there is actually a big problem with images and styles: they only get loaded after the browser downloads and parses some 350KB of Javascript.

So on my system not only your header image itself takes about two seconds to load on a first visit, it also starts loading only after three seconds.

Google Page Speed recommends that you defer loading of Javascript:


Another problem with that specific image, although I do not think it affects your PageRank, is that it makes your logo unreadable.

Dmitry Leskov @Home Send private email
Tuesday, February 19, 2013
There isn't any algorithm that penalizes your site for having images above the fold. There is one that penalizes sites that have too many ads above the fold, but that algo only ran last year.

So your site wasn't penalized by it, the only algorithm that google pushed out this year was Panda, you can see here http://www.seomoz.org/google-algorithm-change the accurate list of changes google did.

So the problem is the content, not the 2 images, there are a lot of topics about google panda and what you can do about it and recovery is not that easy. Assuming you fix the problem, the soonest you could see a change would be with the next push of the algorithm that hit you, which could be in a couple of days or a couple of months.
Claudiu Send private email
Wednesday, February 20, 2013
Objective search is not the same as passing judgment on design , layout , ad placement etc. I just want you to tell me the document with the word cat. I didn't ask for the best designed web pages with the word cat in it. Objective  search is the prime directive. this is becoming more and more subjective. Also questions like "did you mean to search for bobcat"? In any way , content is not related to graphics or where javascript is placed . If i want to know the best way to skin a cat, then I could care less, how many ads, graphics you have on your page. nor do i care about bobcat and construction.just show me the search results for CAT. when I am plainly asking for cat, then why show me the results for bobcat and THEN ask me if I really meant to ask for cat
cn Send private email
Thursday, February 21, 2013
"Objective search is not the same as passing judgment on design , layout , ad placement etc. I just want you to tell me the document with the word cat. "
I ran this post through Google Translate, but it didn't help.  Google does one thing well and that's return results that match what the inquirer intended.  Which doesn't help with lottery SEO, where you win the Page Rank lottery and live wealthy ever after.  Find a different way to market your software, so the main reason prospective customers google you is to find the URL to download your software, not to stumble across it by accident.  If you can't convince prospects to go looking for you, they won't buy because you happened to turn up on page one of a random search.

You can capture prospects who browse through a magazine or view your TV ad between going to the bathroom and raiding the fridge.  You can't fluke a customer with a search result.  Marketing isn't hard, but you have to use your brain, not rely on spiders.
Howard Ness Send private email
Friday, February 22, 2013
"I ran this post through Google Translate, but it didn't help'
Howard, all you had to do was replace "tell" with "show" or 'retrieve" or "bring back" , we could go on ad infinitum but you get the point.

"Google does one thing well and that's return results that match what the inquirer intended"

Well you are just wrong. I just gave you reasons why it no longer does. You used a circular argument by telling me it does because you say it does. It used to. But it does not now. To get rid of spam, it has become more and more subjective

I did not say anything about having a problem using Google for marketing. You answered a question to an imagined problem.

Ranking a result by "design" or placement of graphic on the page is not an objective search by definition. It might very well be necessary to block spammy sites, but it has to sacrifice objectivity in order to that.

Read the post in front of you.
cn Send private email
Wednesday, February 27, 2013

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