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Do Prominent Lead Generation Forms Influence SEO?

Do Prominent Lead Generation Forms Influence SEO?

In a Google Webmaster Office Hours Hangout, Google’s John Mueller was asked if a call to action placed at the top of the page and above the main content would trigger a negative placement effect. John outlined two scenarios under which it would and would not cause a negative ranking effect.

Google Page Layout Algorithm

Google released an algorithm in 2012 that added a negative ranking factor to sites that displayed excessive advertising at the top of the page, making it difficult for users to see the main content.

The original 2012 announcement stated:

“… sites that do not have much content” across the fold “may be affected by this change.

If you click on a site and the part of the site you see first either does not have much visible content across the fold or dedicates a large fraction of the site’s original screen property to ads … Such sites may not rank as very forward-looking. ”

John Mueller recently commented on the 2020 page layout algorithm, saying:


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“It’s generally not a question of how many ads, but more that users are able to find the content they are looking for (what was ‘promised’ in search) when they visit a page.”

On a similar note, the Google Search Quality Raters Guidelines, a guide to standardizing the assessment of search quality reviewers testing test results from new algorithms, says:

“We expect Ads and SC to be visible. However, some ads, SC or intermediate pages (ie pages that appear before or after the content you expect) make it difficult to use MC. Pages with ads, SC or other features that distract from or interrupt the use of the MC should have a low rating. “

Pages with lead generation forms at the top of the page

The person asking the question was concerned about a web page that had a prominent lead generation form at the top of the web page.

On the sample page he showed, a visitor to the site had to scroll down past the lead generation form to access the main content.


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Screenshot of web page with Lead Gen form at the top of the page

This is a situation where the main content is said to be under the fold, which means you have to scroll down to see it.

The “fold” is a reference to newspapers and how they used to be folded and then displayed in such a way that only the headlines and content “above the fold” were visible.

The person asked:

“I think you’ve talked about this before recently… that… the main content should be… over the fold.

Would this lead generation form affect SEO in any way because … at the top here is … a leading reform where people can compare phone system prices.

Will it affect SEO? ”

Do Prominent Lead Generation Forms Trigger Negative Locations?

Google’s John Mueller offered a yes / no / maybe answer that explained the conditions under which a lead generation form can become a negative ranking signal.

John Mueller replied:

“I do not know … my guess is probably not noticeable.

What effect can come into play is that our algorithms look for things like ads over the fold that … push the main content under the fold. And it is possible that we would think that a leading reform like it would be a kind of link to an ad.

But I do not think … that would always be the case.

It also depends on what the page is trying to rank for.

If it’s essentially a page that tries to rank as … “get car insurance”, and the form is about … “sign up for car insurance” .. then that’s the purpose of the page.

But if the intent of the page is like, “find out more about why oranges grow”, and then you have a car insurance form on top, then it looks more like an ad. “


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The purpose of the web page affects the page layout algorithm

Mueller stated that the intent of the website took into account whether a lead generation form would cause a negative ranking effect. This is a somewhat extraordinary answer because it means that Google is able to recognize when the main form of generation is actually a useful part of the content and when that form is not.


Google’s page layout algorithm

Google Search Quality Score Guidelines (PDF)

Lead Generation Form Over Fold

Watch John Mueller answer the question at the 11:10 minute mark

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