Google announced that in January, it will launch its mobile interstitial penalty update. The update aims to make content more easily accessible after a user clicks on a search result by eliminating disruptions for a seamless user experience on small screens.
As a result, mobile pages with intrusive interstitial ads (i.e. full screen or pop-up ads) will be demoted, and brands using intrusive interstitials on mobile pages could see a decrease in mobile rankings, a drop in organic traffic, and lower conversions. This is especially important since Google has announced it will begin focusing primarily on mobile rankings, even if pages are being accessed on desktop.
What will change with the update?
The forthcoming update will replace the September 2015 “app interstitials ad” penalty which intended to lower Google mobile rankings using disruptive app interstitials.
Here are examples of interstitials that will be affected:
- A pop-up ad that hides a page’s main content, either immediately after clicking on the search result or while a user goes through the page
- An interstitial (full-screen or pop up ad) the user has to dismiss before accessing the content
- A layout where the interstitial appears above-the-fold, but unique content is pushed below the fold
The following will not be affected by this update:
- Interstitials used for a legal obligation (e.g. age verification)
- Login boxes for private content such as email or content that is unindexable, meaning it cannot be found in search
- Banners that use an acceptable amount of screen space and can be easily dismissed
How can you prepare for the changes?
To best prepare for the change, it’s important to remove any intrusive interstitials on mobile pages first. Taking this action will allow brands to ensure content is more accessible, improve user experience, boost the number of returning users, and maintain site traffic.
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