Google recently launched a new search algorithm penalty, which it named mobile intrusive interstitials penalty. The objective of the update was to demote the mobile pages with “intrusive” interstitials affecting user’s experience on mobile phones.
The penalty began to roll out from January 10, 2017 and badly affected the rank of some pages. The new penalty actually replaced the app interstitials ad penalty that was launched in September 2015. Though some mobile sites got hit very hard immediately after the roll out, most of the sites with intrusive mobile interstitials haven’t seen any impact yet.
What is intrusive interstitials penalty?
In simple terms, intrusive interstitial is any extraneous content that pop-up on the main content and forcefully ask the visitors to answer questions to move ahead. Google assumes that visitors don’t like these pop-ups as they are more interested in seeing the information they came searching for. And to ensure that users get what they are looking for, Google decided to penalize the sites with unnecessary intrusive interstitials. The mobile sites having more interstitials on their entry pages will not be able to rank as high as these used to be.
But quoting pop-ups in the example of intrusive interstitials doesn’t mean pop-ups are the only thing that lies in this category. An ad that makes it difficult for the visitors to access the page as intended comes under the category of intrusive interstitial.
Reasons why Google decided to penalize the “intrusive” content on mobile sites?
- The interstitials cover maximum content on the small screen of mobile phones.
- Due to unresponsive nature of the interstitials, it is almost impossible to close the popup. It means users have no other option than filling the form or following the instructions given in the unwanted ad.
- The interstitials don’t ask for any action at the user’s end like “click here to subscribe” or “click to view complete details.” Rather, this pops up automatically giving a shocking surprise when you are busy reading the content.
So to ensure that mobile viewers don’t get more such shocks, Google came up with a penalty for sites with a high amount of intrusive interstitials and named it intrusive interstitials penalty.
How to check whether the update has penalized your website or not?
When getting to know about the mobile intrusive interstitials penalty, the first question every website owner had, “how to find whether our website has been penalized or not?” To answer this, Google said, if the interstitial “make content less accessible to a user” your web pages will rank lower.
In this new penalty, Google will basically target three types of intrusive interstitials. So if your mobile website has any of the below mentioned interstitials, chances of your site getting hit are high.
- A regular popup blocking the content of the page
- A standalone, full-screen interstitial that gets fixed above the website’s header. These don’t let the viewers see the content until they scroll up
- A standalone ad that covers the complete screen blocking whole content on the window
How to recover your website from mobile intrusive interstitials penalty?
As the penalty applies to interstitials shown at the entry page, websites not having the same can relax. If your website’s entry pages meet Google’s guidelines for an intrusive mobile interstitial penalty, you don’t need to worry about rank lost.
If your website has got penalized and you want to recover the lost rankings,
- Hide pop-ups on mobile devices
- Opt for other ad options like banners, slides etc.
- After-post pop-ups
This is a whole new internet world where users are more informative and advanced. When visiting a website, they know what they are looking for and don’t entertain any other content that is not meant for them. By trying to con them with forceful pop-ups, marketers are causing more harm to their business than the readers. Further, Google has got more user-friendly and doesn’t like the site owners that nag them.
So it is better to arm yourself with better content and less intrusive interstitials to generate more benefit.