Google has just updated the Page layout algorithm 2 or Top heavy 2 affecting 0.7% of English queries noticeably.
The page layout algorithm, which was introduced in January 2012 to penalize websites with high number of ads above the fold. The decision was taken by Google after receiving complaints from users about more ads on the top or initial visible part of landing pages. There by hampering the user experience.
The news was broke by Matt Cutts via a tweet on October 9, 2012.
Minor weather report: Update of goo.gl/OpIDL launching today. ~0.7% of English queries noticeably affected.
— Matt Cutts (@mattcutts) October 9, 2012
One thing is clear, whether it is Google AdSense or any other ads, above the fold placement performs the best. And, placing one or two ads with some content above the fold will not be penalized by Google straight away for top heavy algo.
If your pages clearly hamper the user experience with plenty of ads with very little or no contents, then page layout algorithm comes in to play.
Those who had affected in Jan 2012 for this algo might have recovered this time, provided they had taken the necessary corrective measures, by reducing the number of ads on above the fold area. And, sites which will be penalized this time have to take corrective measures and to wait till the next page layout algorithm update, to recover.
Tips to escape from Page layout algo
Don’t allocate more than 25% of your above the fold area to ads. Put good quality content above the fold for better user experience.
You can test your blog or website on Google’s Browser Size tool to check how it looks under different screen resolutions.
Google usually takes few weeks to crawl and detects your website’s layout, and it depends on the number of pages and how efficiently your site is crawled by Google bots.