Google has announced plans to penalise mobile websites that make use of interstitials, i.e. pop-up ads, which are seen as an intrusion to the user experience.
If a page shows a pop-up ad that covers the main content of a site, Google will rank that site lower. That’s a bit of a blow for some publishers who rely on such ads for revenue.
Google to rank intrusive mobile web pages lower
However, Google is firm on the move, saying that intrusive interstitials are making for a poorer user experience. That’s particularly problematic for mobile pages where screens are considerably smaller. Indeed, the new rules will be applied to mobile pages in particular.
Back in September 2015, the company had already announced penalization for mobile webpages that showed app install interstitials, which prompt consumers to download a site’s app rather than turning to a mobile browser to view it.
Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages Project is another effort to ensure that the mobile experience is improved and consumers don’t stray too far from the mobile web in favour of apps. That would mean quite a loss in ad revenue for Google. So naturally, the company is trying everything to improve the mobile web.
And given the company’s importance, it’s likely many publishers will abandon these pop-ups. Indeed, the company’s move towards mobile-friendly web pages has led to 85% of pages now meeting that criteria.
Google says that interstitials which won’t be affected are those that appear in response to legal obligation, e.g. for age verification. Login dialogs were content is not publicly available are also exempt from the new regulations. In addition, it mentioned that banners which feature a good amount of screen space are easily dismissable won’t result in a downgrade of the web page.
Examples of interstitials that would not be affected by the new signal, if used responsibly