Another Google SEO Factor: Page Layout Algorithm

Google has 200+ factors that they use to decide a page’s ranking on the Search Engine Result Page (SERP).  Based on the head of Google’s web spam team Matt Cutts’ tweet on Twitter this morning, we now can confirm another factor that Google looks at to rank websites.

Google had announced this update in their January blog post on Page Layout Algorithm Improvement, which stated the following:

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. 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.”

Your website design will also affect your SERP ranking going forward.  If no content can be found above the fold, watch your rank to start dropping.  After all, Google is trying to provide users with the best results and experience.

If you have a lot of ads on your website, you might want to move them to the side bar instead of the top of the page which might drop your content to be below the fold.  If you want to see how your website looks on different screen resolution, you can try Google’s Browser Size Tool.


This update proves that customer experience is a SEO factor as I’ve mentioned in my previous post how we can tell a users’ experience based on the CTR, Bounce Rate and Time Spent on the website. Google mentioned in their blog that they have heard “complaints from users” and thus rolled out the Layout Algorithm.

Do you agree that CTR affects SEO?  What do you think about users’ experience factor in ranking websites?  Share in the comment section below!

About: Tommy Tan Tommy Tan

Tommy is a self-taught SEO and Social Media marketer and the Dojo Master for his blog - MKTdojo which shares guides, news, and exciting updates on Social Media and SEO. Connect with Tommy on Twitter. @Mktdojo

  • Susan Cooper/

    This is good to know. Luckily I don’t have a ton of add on my site.

  • Tope

    very informative. So my page layout is not important. I’ll keep that in mind! Thanks

    • Tommy Tan

      Not sure if there was a typo but based on Google’s new update, page layout is important and will affect your ranking if there are no content above the fold. Just making sure :)

  • Rebecca Thompson (@TakeChargeBecc)

    Thank you for the information. Informative as always :)


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