If Your Mobile Site Has Annoying Pop-Up Ads, Google Will Now Penalize You

Google confirmed this new algorithm update calling it “problematic transitions,” and offers three examples of pages that would be affected.

As of January 10, Google will start penalizing websites that deliver intrusive pop-up ads and full-page interstitials (via scribblrs).

Google confirmed this new algorithm update calling it “problematic transitions,” and offers three examples of pages that would be affected:

  1. Pages where a pop up instantly opens after a user clicks a link or scrolls through the page
  2. Pages that show an interstitial ad that must be X’ed out before the user gets to their desired content
  3. Pages that hide content “under the fold” by showing an interstitial first

“Small pop-ups,” according to Google, won’t be affected by these rules, but no word on what “small” actually means. Also, these rules only apply to pages where the first click comes from Google. For example, if you’re on a web page already, there are no penalties if you encounter the ads following another link from the site.

Google updated it’s “Helping users easily access content on mobile” blog post from August 2016, with a brief note on January 10, explaining the changes:

“Starting today, pages where content is not easily accessible to a user on the transition from the mobile search results may not rank as high. As we said, this new signal is just one of hundreds of signals that are used in ranking and the intent of the search query is still a very strong signal, so a page may still rank highly if it has great, relevant content. Please head to the webmaster forums if you have any questions.”

While ads are sometimes essential for websites and businesses to survive, they don’t need to interrupt a visitor’s experience within the first few seconds of loading a page. If your site does have interstitials or intrusive ads, it’s best to re-consider your strategy and think about a long-term plan for delivering relevant, informative, or entertaining content to your target audiences.

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SMW Staff

SMW News, Social Media Week

@SocialmediaweekSocial Media Week is a leading news platform and worldwide conference that curates and shares the best ideas, innovations and insights into how social media and technology are changing business, society and culture around the world.


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