Google Page Layout Penalty Decreased Traffic 40 Percent

Ignorance is not bliss when it comes to Google algorithm changes. Make sure you are aware of every little penalty or algorithm change that can potentially harm your website. In my case I learned the hard way when I saw almost half of my traffic vanish over night! After a few days of casually investigating the situation I ran across Danny Sullivan’s article on Search Engine Land: before I realized what penalty/algorithmic change hit me.

Google’s Page Layout “Above the Fold” Penalty

As you can see, in the image below, there are four ads above the fold. This is how my website used to look until I got a 40% traffic decrease because of Google’s Page Layout Algorithm.

Page Layout Google Penalty

Here you can clearly see when the algorithm got me on June 9th.

Above the fold Google penalty

The graph below matches up with when I started receiving an increase of ad impressions from my newly placed Google Adsense ads.

Increased adsense ad impressions

Below represents the traffic I had before and after the penalty. Total of 40% decrease and holding strong today.

I fixed the problem and took down all the ads. Unfortunately, it takes weeks before your site recovers.


If you decide to update your page layout, the page layout algorithm will automatically reflect the changes as we re-crawl and process enough pages from your site to assess the changes.

How long that takes will depend on several factors, including the number of pages on your site and how efficiently Googlebot can crawl the content.

On a typical website, it can take several weeks for Googlebot to crawl and process enough pages to reflect layout changes on the site.

Making money is not evil, even if Google makes you feel bad about it. But don’t get greedy when monetizing your blog. The general rule of thumb is to provide value to your readers. They don’t mind seeing ads, but don’t over do it.


Free information deserves a share!

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