How to stay safe from the top heavy algorithm

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What is your ad-to-organic ratio?

Head of search spam at Google Matt Cutts has explained that Google search result pages would be safe if they were run through the top heavy algorithm.

Google first announced its page layout penalty in January 2012, which was then updated in October 2012. It was designed to discipline sites with an excessive number of ads, which compromise on the visibility of organic content.

Responding to a question related to the number of ads in organic Google search results, Cutts stated that if Google pages were indexed, the algorithm would not be triggered. He said that the ad-to-organic ratio on Google Search is at an acceptable level, and the pages would therefore not be penalised or impacted upon negatively.

Mirroring Google Search

So, webmasters looking to stay safe from a top heavy penalty can choose to use Google as a benchmark. By having the same or a lower proportion of ads to content as Google Search on your site, it may help you to avoid being punished for having too many ads.

Following his discussion on the topic at SMX Advanced, Cutts then went onto clarify his point on Twitter, saying: "An important point missing from the write-up is looking at all the pages on the site, not just single pages."

Adrian Mursec, senior developer at theEword, said: "It is important to remember that having a large number of ads in comparison to content can not only trigger a penalty, but also negatively impact upon your users. Matt Cutts has provided us with a clear example of how to keep your ad-to-organic ratio at a suitable level."