Google to penalize intrusive mobile interstitials
Google’s intrusive interstitials penalty has officially commenced from January 10th 2017. The intrusive interstitials penalty is a step to eliminate pages that provide a poor experience to mobile users where content is immediately accessible yet blocked by a “pop-up”.
January 10, 2017 update: Starting today, pages where content is not easily accessible to a user on the transition from the mobile search results may not rank as high. – Google Webmaster Central Blog
What are Interstitials?
Interstitials are advertisements that appear while a chosen website or page is downloading.
Techniques that make content less accessible to a user may trigger the Google Intrusive Interstitials penalty (a.k.a Google pop up penalty):
- Popups that cover the main content, either immediately after the user navigates to a page from the search results, or while they are looking through the page.
- Displaying a standalone interstitial that the user has to dismiss before accessing the main content.
- Using a layout where the above-the-fold portion of the page appears similar to a standalone interstitial, but the original content has been inlined underneath the fold.
I suspect Google is targeting overlays that gray out the content beneath them to prevent you from reading a website. Mobile ads that are displayed over top of the main content appear to be no longer acceptable. This includes ads that appear when you land on a page, as well as ads that appear as you scroll down a page.
Examples of techniques that, when used responsibly, should not be affected by the new change:
- Interstitials that appear to be in response to a legal obligation, such as for cookie usage or for age verification.
- Login dialogs on sites where content is not publicly indexable. For example, this would include private content such as email or unindexable content that is behind a paywall.
- Banners that use a reasonable amount of screen space and are easily dismissible. For example, the app install banners provided by Safari and Chrome are examples of banners that use a reasonable amount of screen space.
This change only impacts mobile – You don’t have to remove intrusive pop-up ads and interstitials altogether, you only need to remove them on mobile pages. They can still be displayed on desktop browsers without incurring any kind of penalty.
Keep interstitials small – Google recommends using interstitials on mobile pages that only take up a “reasonable” amount of screen space.
Consider what being “Mobile-Friendly” means – Google will no longer consider pages with intrusive interstitials as being mobile-friendly. Google Penalizing Non Mobile Sites
Remove barriers for mobile users – Content on the pages you have indexed in mobile search must be readily available when a user clicks through to the page from Google. Ideally, there should be no barrier preventing a user from reading content on the page at any time.
Re-evaluate the use of Pop-Ups – businesses that rely on advertiser dollars, should figure out ways to make money without totally disrupting the mobile user experience.
Author: brad forster