Do you experience poor traffic from Google search recently?

Bloggers out there who had been making good money from advertisement, especially Google Adsense, might need to take another look at the recent changes from Google. One of the changes was the page layout algorithm.

Most Adsense publishers love to place a big 336×280 or 300×250 ad units “Above the Fold” simply because those ad units claim to be one of the few best performing ad units. Even I myself am doing the same thing but Google thinks that it is not a good user experience to show heavy advertisements instead of content at the “Above the Fold”.

As a result, Google is to penalize those sites with heavy advertisement sor probably even no content at all at the “Above the Fold” area. This only affects the “Above the Fold” area where you can still place your advertisements along the way as long as your readers can find your contents easily.

What can you do to solve this issue?

The thing that you should do now is to ensure that the area “Above the Fold” has a certain amount of contents. If you do not want to get rid of your advertisements to show more content, you can follow what I had done to my site.

  1. Run a scan to check how much content you really have at the “Above the Fold”. You can use the Browser Size tool to help you out here.
  2. If the width to have your content is too small and you are using a 336×280, reduce your advertisement size to 300×250.
  3. If you have a small left sidebar for advertisement purposes, it is time to get rid of them as well unless that is the only advertisement you are going to show at the “Above the Fold”.
  4. Don’t push your content below the advertisement. It is not a good idea anymore. Instead, align it to the left or right together with your content. This way you can show your advertisement and content as well at the “Above the Fold”.
  5. If you have menu bar above and below your header, try removing them and replace them on your right sidebar or footer.
  6. Lastly, you can also reduce the height of your header if you have a tall size header.

Apart from making all these changes to get your traffic back, you should always remember to create more valuable contents as that is what not only your readers love, but Google as well.

Guest article written by: Alan Tay is the author who runs IT Security Column, a IT Security blog where he mostly writes about computer security tips and security software reviews.

28 thoughts on “Do you experience poor traffic from Google search recently?”

  1. Thanks for this useful text, I haven’t heard about these layout algorithm changes before, but no I already know the reason for the lack of traffic. Thanks for the nice advices to get my traffic back;)

    • You can check out the Google WebMaster Blog as linked in the article to learn more about the changes in the page layout from Google 😉

  2. Thanks for the heads up on this. I have not noticed a change, but I will have to watch it closely as I do have an ad above the fold.

  3. good tips. I made some changes to some of my sites and blogs to change the layout of my google ads. I still have a 300×250 box before my blog posts, I wonder if this is a bad thing or if Google is only concerned about above the fold on homepage only. I notice on this blog you also have an ad box above the posts content. What are your thoughts on this?

    • I don’t think it is the homepage only, Dan. I think it applies to all the pages. Klaus, the owner of Techpatio is not the writer of this article and probably he might be too busy to deal with this change. Before I even have the chance to experience the drop in traffic, I made some changes to my site. Last I heard from Matt Cutts, it might take 2-3 weeks for Google to crawl to your site and amend the changes back to normal state if you happened to be penalized by Google.

    • Dan,

      Personally, I haven’t seen any change in traffic here on TP since Matt Cutts published his article (linked to, above) on January 19th. But maybe it’s too early to spot any changes. I doubt I will be hit though, as the way I understand, they are not going to make an impact on real sites with real content. I think they are mostly after those sites plastered with AdSense and the only purpose is to get search engine traffic to enter the site and click on ads, instead of providing real content. So basically, I’m not worried 🙂

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    • Well, it is not Google’s idea to fill all the ads above the fold. If users can still find your content above the fold with Google Ads, probably you will not be penalized as from what Klaus mentioned, he did not experience any traffic drop.

  5. These are some good suggestions. Perhaps, another suggestion could be that the main contents may be pushed to the top, and the header may be reduced only the width of the sidebar.

  6. Thanks for the article recently if have suffered more than 70 % decrease in google search traffic. I am finding solution on that and I found few solutions in this article, Thanks

  7. I actually had to scroll down to read this post. No text content is seen on the first screen (my laptop runs in 1366 x 768 mode). So, how does your blog perform then?

  8. Google is slowly marching toward original, quality, frequent content. Anyone who doesn’t dive on board that boat now will be left behind in the water.

  9. Hi, Alan.
    Great ideas for solving the issue of potentially driven poor traffic. I always read about people complaining they have poor traffic, but this is the first time I found that someone is actually offering a solution to the problem, instead of just realizing that there is an issue with traffic.
    This will be handy-I will bookmark the page for future reference, if you don’t mind.
    Thanks a lot!

  10. Most of the visitors from search engines are bounces, they exit mainly on landing pages which is the main problem i facing. Thanks for your valuable points.

  11. I’ve read this news directly from InsideAdsense official blog and I’ve watched the video also.

    I believe that Google want to fight spam now more than ever.
    I believe that Bing and Yahoo are taking more traffic every day,especially in US market.
    I do not have intrusive ads,but anyway I’ve reduced my header size to bring more real content above the fold

  12. I too had always heard the ads were to be placed above the fold. I believe it is even shown that way on Google’s heatmap. Glad to have found this article though. I will definitely be making some adjustments. Thanks!

  13. Thanks for the tip! I hadn’t heard about this change, but I’ll be sure to change my site up a little to avoid being penalized by Google.

  14. Hi Alan,

    Thanks for the interesting post, and your handy suggestions to limit its negative effects.
    The one unfortunate thing about the new page layout algortihm is that it almost seems like different Google teams don’t communicate their changes to each other, as AdSense seems to be generally recommending changes to ad layout that the new search algorithm would view negatively.

  15. google really does like to keep people on their toes.More hastle changing every thing around ect they really know how to annoy people.

  16. I believe I was penalized for this. Moving the content to the right or left seems like a fair compromise. Thanks for the post.

  17. Aftter your website loads in Internet Explorer look in the bottom left corner of the browser. If you see an icon that says errors on page click on it and look at the error codes. This will display the error and the line of code on your website where the error is. This is very important for page load time and SEO.

  18. I am a google search user and have noted over the past month or perhaps six weeks an IMMENSE decrease in returned results for ‘any’ search parameters, words, phrases. You all seem to be ‘web masters’ and I would believe that less traffic would be the result of what I see on the ‘user’ side. I have been in IT for 25 years and google just seems to have suddenly lost 1/3 of everything they used to ‘find.’ Very disconcerting.

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