Google made the announcement of the launch of a penalty that will affect the ranks of sites that have intrusive interstitials that prevents users from freely accessing the mobile pages. This penalty takes effect on the 10th of January 2017.
They plan to demote all the Web pages with interstitials that affect the user’s experience and make such pages come down the ranks than they previously were. This intrusive interstitials mobile penalty is replacing the interstitials ad penalty for apps that was introduced in September 2015. The interstitials penalty for apps is going away but Interstitials mobile penalty will have the same impact.
But how would you know if your website is not safe? If it “prevents users from accessing the Web content ” says Google. The following examples were given by Google:
- When the main content is hidden underneath the fold portion of the interstitial.
- When the interstitial is shown standing alone to be dismissed before the user can access the original content
- When the user navigates to a page from the search results and a popup is shown covering the original content, either after navigation or when they are still on the page
Google is not condemning all interstitials, here are some interstitial that would not be affected by the penalty.
- On sites, login dialog where contents are private, like the original post is not publicly indexable.
- Interstitials that are easily dismissed and does not take up so much screen space, such as the app install banners by Safari and Chrome. This is a practical example of appropriately sized banners.
- If the interstitial is to be in response to a legal requirement, for example, verification of age or cookie usage.
In their Search Console mobile usability report, Google has reconsidered their penalty to app interstitial ads.
So expect a reduction in the number of errors because the app install interstitials would not be reported as an error but it will be used as a factor in ranking pages in mobile search results.
There are many who are excited about this news, like most users and webmasters. A WebmasterWorld thread say it is long overdue. Although not everyone is in support of this penalty and they are calling it hypocritical on the part of Google.
One user asked,”Will Adsense rankings be compromised since they have been pushing anchor/overlay ads, vignette ads, full-screen, Page level ads?
In general, this announcement has been accepted by most people and Google has given enough time for changes to be made so that your web page does not drop down the ranks.
I wish there was a testing tool that confirms if your interstitial is at risk of this penalty.