google-notifies-intrusive-interstitials-will-affect-mobile-ranking-from-january-2017

Ever since the day Google announced mobile-friendly update (a ranking signal), organizations across the world started converting their sites by adopting responsive design to support a variety of devices. The intention was quite clear as Google wanted smartphone users to access relevant results and high-quality content with easily readable text and clear CTAs.

Since then, we have seen mobile-centric updates like Google AMP  from Google and Facebook Instant Articles from Facebook to improve mobile user experience.

Now, Google is all set to penalize websites (by lowering the rankings in search results) that create obstacles to online users while accessing content on mobile devices, after January 10, 2017.

Yes! Google has made its mind and informed in advance that the pages of the website where content is not readily available to users would not rank highly in search results.

Have you ever felt trouble accessing information (due to unusual popups) from a web page you have been taken after tapping on a search result? If yes, then it is a sign of bad mobile experience and Google calls it “Intrusive Interstitials.” However, with this upcoming update, pretty soon accessing information through mobile devices will become flawless.

The intention behind this update is:

  • To simplify mobile search results– Two years ago, Google added a mobile-friendly label to help users find pages that can be easily read on mobile devices.
  • To help users find the content they are searching for – Google has noticed numerous web pages show intrusive interstitials to users. The visually obscured content can frustrate users because they are not able to access content they were anticipating when they tapped on the search results.

Web pages that show up intrusive interstitials offer worse experience to users in comparison to the pages where content are easily and quickly accessible. Intrusive interstitials ruin mobile user experience where screens are often smaller.

Now, let’s take a glance at some techniques that Google has decided to penalize from January because these tricks make accessing content pretty difficult for a user:

  • Displaying a popup that hides the content either immediately after arriving on a page or while looking through the page.
  • Showing up a standalone annoying interstitial that user has no choice but to dismiss somehow before accessing the intended content.
  • Use of a layout that makes page appears similar to a standalone interstitial and the desired content has been aligned underneath the fold.

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Let’s take a peep at some techniques that would not be affected by this new signal if done responsibly:

  • Interstitials that appear as legal obligation like for cookie usage, or for age verification.
  • Login dialogs on web pages where content is not publicly indexable. For instance, this would include private content like email or unindexable content which is behind a paywall.
  • Banners that use a reasonable screen space and are easily dismissible. For instance, the app install banners provided by browsers like Chrome use a reasonable screen space.

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No doubt with the market share of 67.49 percent, Google is one of the most popular search engines in the world that has made several significant changes to enhance the online experience for users. Nevertheless, with these upcoming changes, Google will take the mobile experience one step further for users.

(Do you have responsive web design? If no, you can contact us right away – we’ll create one.)

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