Mobile Interstitial – The latest Google Algorithm Update January 2017

Mobile SEO

Mobile Interstitial – The latest Google Algorithm Update January 2017

Streamlining Mobile Search Results & Google Algorithm Update

In order to adapt to the ever increasing use of mobile devices to browse the internet, Google introduced their AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) label so users could easily identify which pages they could access and view within search results that would be mobile device-friendly. Instead of having to zoom in to read tiny text and fiddle around to click buttons, these pages are optimised for mobile viewing, meaning all text and buttons are displayed at an optimal size for being viewed on such devices.

Google have found that since the introduction of these labels two years ago, around 85% of all search results meet the criteria and thus automatically display the AMP label. Keeping in line with their continued efforts to make search results more user-friendly, Google will be removing this label to unclutter search results, but will continue to use their criteria for mobile-friendly pages as a contributing factor for page ranking.

Helping browsers find the content they want
As pages have adapted to become mobile friendly, so have the opportunities for advertisement. Companies wishing to capitalise on this advancement in mobile-friendly pages have created pop-up adverts, known as interstitials, to promote themselves. The content remains present but obscured on the page beneath the interstitial, which can cause frustration to mobile web users, who then have to tap an often unidentifiable target to remove the interstitial.

Such pages that include intrusive interstitial pop-ups often lead to a poor user experience compared to pages that do not show interstitials, due to the fact that mobile device screens are much smaller and more difficult to navigate than on devices such as tablets that have larger screens. January 10 of this year saw Google algorithm update introduce a ranking penalty for pages that do not offer users a smooth transition from search results to the desired content when showing interstitials.

Some mobile interstitial techniques that can now incur a Google penalty:
•    Displaying an interstitial covering the page right after a user has arrived from search results, or during navigation of the page.
•    Showing a pop-up that has to be dismissed before users can view the core content.
•    Incorporating a layout that looks like a separate interstitial, but the original content is inlined beneath the above-the-fold area.

Examples of mobile interstitials that reduce content accessibility;


































When applied responsibly, pages showing mobile interstitial pop-ups can avoid incurring a penalty with the Google Algorithm Update . Here’s some examples of acceptable techniques:

• Interstitials that convey a legal message, such as those informing the user of cookie usage, or the requirement of age verification.
• Pop-ups notifying the user of required log-in details to access private content.
• Banners using a reasonable portion of screen space that can be easily dismissed by the user, such as app installation banners.

Google have previously looked into developing a ranking signal that mainly focused on mobile interstitials asking users to install an app. Further developments prompted them to apply a broader and more general focus on interstitials, and now no longer check app-install mobile interstitials for the mobile-friendly test, instead incorporating the check into their new page ranking signal search check.

Although ensuring a page is either free of intrusive mobile interstitials, or incorporates pop-ups that do not greatly diminish the user experience now has a strong page-ranking effect, the search query itself still remains the key factor in ensuring a page or website is search optimized. Properly applied mobile interstitials are one of several factors that contribute to great SEO and avoiding getting yourself a Google penalty with this latest Google Algorithm Update .

I encourage you to leave any comments in the fields below. Please ask me any questions so I can help you with better understand the constant changing space of search and the internet. Would love to hear from you. Senka 🙂

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