What is Google Top Heavy Update?

Google Top Heavy update is a new Policy that targets websites overloaded with AdSense ads uploaded with very little content at the end of the ads. The initial rollout of this new feature came in January 2012. Later on, two more updates to the algorithm came into existence, one in October 2012 and the other in February 2014.

To find that content, you need to scroll down. Readers usually leave the website soon if they have many such advertisements on the website before seeing the content for which they are there.

Reason to display ads on websites

The website owner splatters many ads to earn money, which is not a bad thing. Website owners can earn revenue when people click on the displayed ads. However, lousy ad use can do more harm than good; that is why Google created a product to penalize it.

What Google Top Heavy Update Impacted

The primary focus for this Policy is to work on the pages with excessive advertising above the fold. When a viewer comes to your site through the SERPs and sees so many ads that they can’t even see the content without scrolling to the end of the page, this will lead to a big problem.

This kind of site tends to become a very frustrating experience for users. Google wants to make accurate, relevant, and nuanced information that makes it different from other search engines.

When a user directs to such a site with so many ads, then Google fails to fulfill its goal, and along with that, the website seems full of spam, and it becomes tough for the user to trust the site altogether.

Google tries to keep websites like this out of its top-ranking spots, and these sites remain at that position until they provide a better user experience with fewer ads.

New Policy, Old Rules

Google believes in delivering the best matches to its users, but it is hard for viewers to access the content, ignoring all the unwanted ads easily.

You don’t need to remove all the ads, but you have to regulate the ads so that the viewers can find the content at the top for which they came to your site. To make sure you are not overstepping Top Heavy’s boundaries, you can use the following steps:

Step 1- Go to Google Labs

Step 2- Use Browser size tools

Step 3- Check for the “90% use case.”

It would be best if you did it for all your pages but focused on the pages on which AdSense ads are. If you come to know about too many ads above the fold, remove them.

You can use Google Analytics and use browser-sizing tools to determine if you got enough content above the fold to engage your site’s visitors. By checking browser views, you can choose the ads which you want to remove- if you need to remove any at all.

You need to fix your pages if you want Google to lift the Top Heavy Penalty from your web pages and make sure you don’t remain penalized longer than you have to.


The whole process of recovering from Google’s Top Heavy Update isn’t complicated. Once you remove excessive ads and Google has re-crawled your sites, you will notice an increase in your ranking. All you have to do is keep above-the-fold ads at a reasonable ratio, and you should have nothing to worry about.