According to information about recent Google updates ads should not be above the "fold" part of the screen. Can anyone advice how actually to do that if ads are inserted by HP automatically and the first ad on the screen is definitely above the fold. Should I "push" that ad down by inserting many pictures in the upper "Picture" module? Or HP is likely to change their structure?
The above the fold penalty is imposed after a side wide analysis. It's not a per page thing. So if most of the pages on a site have above the fold ads, it "might" trigger the algo. Google sort of looks at how much space is taken up above the fold by ads relative to the amount of content available there. So if you're worried about the above the fold algo, just put a lot of content (text ideally) on top.
The way hubpages does it isn't really overly spammy. The add is def above the fold (first one) but that one is abut equal to or maybe the main content might even be a bit more space consuming. So personally I don't think there's anything wrong with how HP has designed their ad placement. What you should be worried about is a scenario where you hardly see any content when you land on the page. The ones that have 2 large header banners, a side add, and a top inpost ad etc... Basically as long as there's good content as soon as you land on the page, without the need to actually scroll down to find it, google shouldn't have any issues with it.
One ad above the fold is fine. It becomes a problem when you have more than one, generally speaking. It doesn't count the number of ads alone, it compares the amount of ads vs the amount of content. Also, adding a picture won't change anything. The bots won't see it as a picture, just a single line of code with keywords.
Just have a look at Google's search results. They have the biggest violation of this update, with ads all around. I never had a problem with this in any of my websites, but the more the content in relation with the ads, the safer you are.
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