Popups, interstitial ads, overlays–call them what you what, but we love to hate them. They’ve been annoying web users since the birth of the internet. They are especially bad on mobile. It’s like no matter how hard you tap on the ‘x’, they never go away. Google has taken note of this and has decided to take action in order to provide a better mobile search experience for users.
After January 10, 2017, pages where content is not easily accessible when a user clicks on it from a mobile search result may not rank as highly. Instead, Google will prefer pages with content that is easily accessible to the user. Additionally, Google will also be dropping the mobile-friendly label in order to declutter the search results (however, mobile friendliness will still a ranking signal).
Examples of inaccessible content includes:
- Popups that cover the main content when a user clicks to a page from a search result regardless if the popup is shown immediately or while browsing the page.
- Standalone interstitials that require action or dismissal from the user before they can access the content.
- Above-the-fold portions of the page that look similar to an interstitial but the original content exists below the fold (think of websites with a giant header image or masthead).
However, there are also exceptions:
- Interstitials related to legal obligations such as age verification or cookie disclaimers.
- Private content or content that is behind a paywall and requires a login dialogue.
- A banner that uses minimal screen space and is easily dismissible.
- Insterstitials that appear when a user navigates the site.
Internet users rejoice!