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Google plans to penalise websites displaying Intrusive Interstitial or pop-ups on mobile friendly websites

Google plans to penalise websites displaying Intrusive Interstitial or pop-ups on mobile friendly websites

Google announced that they will be penalising websites displaying intrusive pop-ups or interstatilals on mobile websites

Noticed and interesting development on mobile ranking factors for google while catching up on the latest SEO trends on SearchEngineLand.

As some of you might know google implemented a penalty for mobile friendly websites last year that displays a pop-up, AKA interstitial, asking the mobile user to download and instal a mobile app to gain access the content.

After receiving positive feedback on this from users, google decided to expand the ranking factor to include any pop-up that are not required to “use” the website. That includes basically the following.

  • Showing a popup that covers the main content, either immediately after the user navigates to a page from the search results, or while they are looking through the page.
  • Displaying a standalone interstitial that the user has to dismiss before accessing the main content.
  • Using 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.

A graphic from Google sums it up in these three images.

pop-ups bad for mobile seo

Intirstitials that would not be penalised would be the following

  • Interstitials that appear to be in response to a legal obligation, such as for cookie usage or for age verification.
  • Login dialogs on sites where content is not publicly indexable. For example, this would include private content such as email or unindexable content that is behind a paywall.
  • Banners that use a reasonable amount of screen space and are easily dismissible. For example, the app install banners provided by Safari and Chrome are examples of banners that use a reasonable amount of screen space.

Acceptable pop-ups

These new ranking factors will be phased in during January 2017 and could see several websites be penalised for making use of Intrusive Interstitials.

Question is how to managed these pop-ups if you have a responsive website or mobile first layout. You cannot exactly update the “mobile page” as there are no mobile specific page. The same page is used for both mobile and desktop devices.

three options to get ready.

  1. Avoid any pop-ups. Including these offering your site visitors free information if they subscribe to your mailing list
  2. Get a web developer to add a bit of code to your web page to detect if the visitor is using a mobile device and hide the pop-up if they are or the best option
  3. Get yourself a XMS Systems based website that are responsive, mobile first and SEO friendly in more ways that most users even expect.

XMS Systems had already developed and implemented a means to hide automatically the pop-up on mobile devices if you, the website owner, chooses to do so.

While editing the page in the XMS Systems admin section you have the option to specify the minimum screen width you want the pop-up to display on. By default the screen width is 0px. That means that the pop-up or interstitial will display automatically on all screen sizes. If you choose to only display the pop-up on desktop pc then you would add a value of around 1028px. The pop-up will then be remain inactive for all screen sizes smaller than 1028px.

Having this flexibility means you can define on a “per-page” basis what your pop-ups or intristitials should do. Your age verifications will remain active on all screen sizes while your pop-up inviting for subscription to your mailing list will be hidden for mobile users.

Written by:  - 27 Aug, 2016  
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