Search giant Google
is to penalize some mobile sites with what it regards as ‘intrusive’ pop-up notifications. The news was announced by Google’s Product Manager, Doantam Phan, on the company’s Webmaster Central Blog. The blog posting suggests that changes will be made as early as January of next year which will mean sites with problem pop ups might find themselves ranked lower in Google SERPs.
As ever with Google, the move is intended to improve user experience by feeding searches with listings that avoid sites that include pop-ups that, for example, cover all the content on the main page of a website. The move will also cover ‘interstitials’ – web pages managed by an ad server that show advertisements before or after the content page you have searched for. The change will not impact ‘public service’ pop-ups or those deemed ‘unintrusive’ such as age verification pop-ups.
"Pages that show intrusive interstitials provide a poorer experience to users than other pages where content is immediately accessible," explained Phan on the blog. "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 blog post also listed examples of techniques Google believes makes content “less accessible to a user”. These include “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”. As part of the changes Google will also stop labeling websites as mobile-friendly because, as the blog post points out, 85% of websites are now mobile-friendly.What do you think about Google’s new changes? Let us know your thoughts. Add your comments below.