If you’re a user of the internet (which you are, because you’re reading this site), then Google’s latest post to its Webmaster Central Blog is great news. If you’re a publisher or webmaster that likes to bombard users with intrusive ads, however, then you might want to look away.
In an effort to “improve the mobile search experience,” Google has announced today that it will soon begin penalizing sites in Google Search when it finds that the ads (or, more broadly, the interstitials) they serve users are too intrusive…
If you know you’re guilty of this (and by “this” I mean ruining just about everyone’s experience on the mobile web), Google says that you have until January 10, 2017 to set things straight until you start getting a dock in rank:
Pages that show intrusive interstitials provide a poorer experience to users than other pages where content is immediately accessible. This can be problematic on mobile devices where screens are often smaller. To improve the mobile search experience, after January 10, 2017, pages where content is not easily accessible to a user on the transition from the mobile search results may not rank as highly.
The company provided three examples of interstitials that it would consider intrusive, in case you’re unclear: “a popup that covers the main content,” “a standalone interstitial that the user has to dismiss,” and “a layout where the above-the-fold portion of the page appears similar to a standalone interstitial, but the original content has been inlined underneath the fold.”
In much more minor news, Google also announced today that mobile-friendly label in search results, the little helper is being retired. Google says that this is to “keep search results uncluttered,” as well as the fact that “85% of all pages in the mobile search results” now meet the criteria of being mobile-friendly.