At PubCon in Las Vegas, Google’s Matt Cutts and Amit Singhal held a webmaster Q&A session with attendees, and referenced (among many other things) some algorithm testing that they’re doing, which we may see the results of in 2012. This involves Google’s algorithm examining what appears “above the fold” on a content page, and more specifically, what appears in the way of ads. On that list is: “Does this article have an excessive amount of ads that distract from or interfere with the main content?”
At PubCon, Cutts is quoted as saying, “If you have ads obscuring your content, you might want to think about it…Do they see content or something else that’s distracting or annoying?” and that they’re testing algorithms that determine ”what are the things that really matter, how much content is above the fold.”
Now that part about “what are the things that really matter” could certainly apply to things beyond ads, and this in itself raises a lot of questions.
Here are some questions the whole discussion raises. Some of the answers may become clearer in time, and others webmasters will no doubt be left to speculate upon (feel free to contribute your thoughts in the comments). .