What Google's "Above Fold" Update Means for SEO

written by
Wednesday, January 25, 2012

What Google's 'Above the Fold' Algorithm Means For SEOIn an ongoing effort to help users find higher quality websites in search results, Google has launched an algorithmic change that looks at the layout of a web page and the amount of content that is visible once users click on a result. This update is said to impact websites where only a small amount of content above-the-fold is visible.

What Google's 'Above the Fold' Algorithm Means For SEO

In an ongoing effort to help users find more high-quality websites in search results, Google has launched an algorithmic change that looks at the layout of a web page and the amount of content that is visible once users click on a result. This new algorithmic update is said to impact websites where there is only a small amount of visible content above-the-fold or when relevant content is persistently pushed down by large blocks of ads.

What does this mean for website owners? In a nutshell, if you maintain a cluttered website above the fold - to the point where site visitors are not able to locate the content that Google has promised they would find - then you risk annoying Google users, and thus Google. And, as we all know, Google doesn't take to well to websites that annoy them. We're talking penalties.

Why the Change?

As I alluded to above, it all comes down to user-experience. If search engine users aren't happy, Google is not happy. Google has said to have received numerous complaints from their users who have become annoyed with not being able to find their desired content after clicking on a listing. Personally, I can relate to this. I cannot begin to count the number of times that I've landed on a website, only to utilize a "Control+F" (find) to locate the information I was originally looking for. Needless to say, this leads to a poor user-experience to which Google is now trying to avoid.

Google is quoted as saying:

"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. If you click on a website and the part of the website you see first either doesn't have a lot of visible content above-the-fold or dedicates a large fraction of the site's initial screen real estate to ads, that's not a very good user experience. Such sites may not rank as highly going forward."

What to Do if You Find That Your Site Was Affected

According to Google, this algorithmic change will noticeably affect less than 1% of searches globally - that's less than 1-in-100 searches. However, if you believe that you've been affected by this recent algorithm change, consider how your pages use the area above-the-fold and whether the content on the page is obscured or otherwise hard for users to discern quickly.

If you decide to update your page layout, consider using Google's Browser Size tool, among others, to see how your website will look under different screen resolutions. Find the solution that works for you, and roll with it.

How Should You Move Forward?

First things first, do not just sit back and ignore this update... not if you value your site's high rankings! As an Internet Marketing professional, it is my recommendation to be proactive. Pool the resources of both your design and marketing teams, and create an adequate solution. The goal is simple. Satisfy Google's need for a high quality user-experience by ensuring that each pages' most relevant content is found above the fold.

Furthermore, if you haven't given much thought in the way of user-experience, I'd strongly suggest that you start. Google is hell bound on delivering the best possible search user experience and, as this update proves, that means taking care of their users even after the click. Google has said that this is one of over 500 improvements expected to roll out this year. I'm not a gambler by any means, but I'd wager that "user-experience" will be the basis for more than a few of them.

Labels:


Making Standout Posts for Small Business Blogs

written by
Thursday, January 12, 2012

Making Standout Posts for Small Business BlogsSmall business bloggers must capture their reader's attention if they want to market their blogs with any lasting effect. If your blog's content doesn't attract a reader's attention, there's no way you can hope to compete with other businesses competing for exposure. I would recommend that you take an honest look at work on your business's blog.

Standout Posts for Small Business Blogs

Today's post is from guest author Kimberly Wilson. Kimberly is from accredited online colleges, she writes on topics including career, education, student life, college life, home improvement, time management etc.

Small business bloggers must capture their reader's attention if they want to market their blogs with any lasting effect. If your small business blog's content doesn't attract a reader's attention, there's no way you can hope to compete with other businesses competing for exposure. It should be motivation enough that your business must compete against countless competitors for your customer's attention. There's always another insurance blog or another small business consulting website if yours doesn't look glamorous enough.

If your small business is struggling to establish itself online, I would recommend that you take an honest look at work on your business's blog. Warning signs of a suffering or stagnating blog include the following: low readership on the blog (few unique "hits" on the blog), few to zero comments on blog posts, or returns on advertisements put up alongside the blog, if any. If your blog languishes in neglect from potential customers, you have to do something about it if you expect any kind of online success for your business. Now, I'm not suggesting that you post ridiculous material simply to draw a wider readership. But there are ways to make your posts look fresher, more interesting, and overall more engaging with potential readers and customers without compromising the ethics of your business.

Keep it Fresh

Keeping your content up-to-date is pivotal to remaining relevant in your customer's sphere of interest. You can't expect to build a reliable customer base if you post once every two weeks about issues covered months ago. You can stay on top of things by frequently visiting news sites that feature stories related to your business. You can subscribe to any number of news hubs (CNN, FOX, Huffington Post) for notifications and instant updates on breaking news. If you're not sure about the latest trends, there's nothing wrong with checking out the competition for insight into the hot topics in the blogosphere. Even if a topic has been picked over by everyone else, you can put your own perspective on it to make it feel fresh to your readers. You won't have to worry about recycling current news as you write your content from a new or innovative angle, regardless of your business's specialty. If you continually blog about current events then readers will rely on you for their industry news.

Outstanding Post Titles

It sounds like a trite detail, but it makes all the difference in blogging. It's critical that you give your blog posts titles that would interest potential customers. For instance, if your small business is about management consulting, make blog titles that assert your business's expertise. Use snappy, emphatic phrasing like "How to Deal with Terrible Bosses" for posts aimed at HR managers and staff looking for management advice. If you're running a blog for a small, web-based floral service, you might opt for more titles like "3 Badass Birthday Bouquets" to grab a reader's attention. Think of a title that you'd like yourself. You're the best judge of your customer base and their needs.

Engage the Readers

You're trying to attract readers to your business. That means you want them to have a genuine interest in your services, some desire that grows organically from a customer's experience with your site. You do this by offering substantive content that informs the reader and makes them want to know more about how your business works. To run a successful business blog, you must start a dialog with your readers as if they were customers in a real store or during a live consultation. Be personable and engaging with your readers; you don't want your business's blog to read as a giant advertisement. Readers will usually interpret business blogs that appear to be selling something as a spammy website not worth their time.

You can also engage your readers by directly responding to comments and queries that they post on your blog. As you connect with your readers, you'll notice a jump in reader participation and the number of hits on your blog. And once you've earned the trust of your readers, it's only a matter of time until some of those readers turn to your businesses services and become customers.

Labels: ,