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Top Heavy 2: Google Updated the Page Layout Algorithm

In association with the updates on Google’s search algorithm, the announcement of its Page Layout filter refresh, which was discussed in January, is also referred to as the ‘Top Heavy’ update. With a brief glance over the last few updates, one can observe that the Panda Update 20 and the EMD Update 1 occurred over the 27th and 28th of September 2012 and the Penguin Update 3 and the Top Heavy 2 rolled out on the 5th and 9th of October 2012.

Described as a ‘minor’ update, it had a significant effect on 0.7% of the queries in English language. It is related to feedbacks from the users who respond that when they click on a search result, they find it difficult to search the actual content, and are dissatisfied with the overall experience. The users prefer to view the content immediately rather than scrolling through the various ads. Thus, the update can affect websites that do not have relevant “above the fold” content. If the click on a website reveals a significant part of the initial web page dedicated to ads, or lack of visible above the fold content, the website may not secure high ranks due to low browsing experience.

Although called as “Page Algorithm” update, it has been aptly described as “Top Heavy” as it targets web pages whose top portions are heavy with the ads. The second refresh associated, the Top Heavy 1 released on the 19th of January, 2012 affected less than 1 percent of the English query searches, while the Top Heavy 2, released on 9th of October 2012 had an impact on 0.7 percent of the same. As suggested by the update statistics, it can be observed that those who make changes recommended by Google are now free from the effects of the Top Heavy updates.

Various services have analyzed the impact of the Google updates like Top Heavy on various search results. One can view these graphs and illustrative charts to get a better idea about the impact of the Top Heavy update.