One of the most highly contested decisions small business website owners make is whether or not to include ads on their websites. While there are good arguments for keeping your site free of them, there are also valid reasons for adding them.  If you are planning to add ads to your small business website, you should spend a considerable amount of time researching best practices for online monetization before jumping on the bandwagon.

If you’re thinking of adding ads to your small business website, Google’s latest page layout update will be of interest to you.  Similar to new homes, location is everything when it comes to ads.  As recently as January, Google has stressed the importance of website page layout and has warned website owners that they will be penalized if their “above the fold” area is filled with ads rather than content.

Users want the content they are searching for to be simple to find and easy to read, which means they don’t want to have to scroll through half of a page of ads before they find the information they’re looking for.  More importantly, they won’t.  If your customers can’t find the information they need quickly and easily, they will leave your site and you could lose a sale.

Wondering if your website has too many ads above the fold making it a target of Google’s updated page layout requirements for web design?  Search Engine Roundtable suggests using Google’s Browser Size tool that will help you decide whether your small business website has too many ads cluttering up the content.  While Google’s own search appears to be in direct contradiction to their latest update, as Search Engine Land points out, if your site is crawled and determined to be too full of “above the fold” ads your page rank will be lowered and this will affect your ability to be found in search.

If you find that your website is falling short in traffic or you suspect it is guilty of having too many ads, you can use some of the tools provided by Google and make a determined effort to keep your content easy to find, concise, and relatively free from “above the fold” ads.

Need help designing (or re-designing) your small business website’s page layout to align with Google’s latest algorithm update?  Search News Central has a great break down of an optimal page segmentation and layout for your small business website.

Image Credit: Zeafonso