In a Google Webmaster Office Hours Hangout, Google’s John Mueller was asked whether a call to action placed at the top of the page and above the main content would trigger a negative ranking effect. John outlined two scenarios under which it would and would not cause a negative ranking effect.
Google released an algorithm in 2012 that added a negative ranking factor to sites that featured excessive advertising at the top of the page that made it difficult for users to see the main content.
The original announcement from 2012 stated:
“…sites that don’t have much content “above-the-fold” can be affected by this change.
If you click on a website and the part of the website you see first either doesn’t have a lot of visible content above-the-fold or dedicates a large fraction of the site’s initial screen real estate to ads… Such sites may not rank as highly going forward.”
John Mueller recently commented about the Page Layout Algorithm in 2020, stating:
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“It’s generally not a matter of how many ads, but more that users are able to find the content they’re looking for (what was “promised” in search) when they visit a page.”
On a similar note, Google Search Quality Raters Guidelines, a handbook for standardizing the judgment of search quality raters who test search results from new algorithms states:
“We expect Ads and SC to be visible. However, some Ads, SC, or interstitial pages (i.e.,…