Algorithm Rolled Out: October 20th, 2017

Algorithm Summary: Overall Gist 

This post has been updated with new and important information from Google about this intrusive interstitial Update.

Google’s John Mueller stated in a Google Hangout on October 18th that the intrusive interstitial penalty set for January 2017 only applies to “the interaction between the search click and going through the page and seeing the content.” It means that the penalty does not affect pop-ups after the first interaction. For instance, an intrusive pop-up on the second page of a visit would still be acceptable, as would a pop-up that appears when a user indicates exit intent. This elaboration will make adjusting to the new Update easier without sacrificing lead-generation capabilities.

Original Editorial

Google announced two focus changes to mobile search results on August 23rd, 2016. First, they will no longer label mobile-friendly websites because approximately 85% of all Web pages meet this standard. The second, more significant change is that “pages, where content is not easily accessible to a user on the transition from mobile search results, may not rank as highly” beginning January 10th, 2017. Websites that use intrusive interstitials and pop-up ads that complicate accessing a page’s primary content may decrease their keyword ranking. However, Google has stated that keyword rank declines are not guaranteed; other ranking factors, such as content relevancy, remain more important, so if your page is the best result for a query, you will still appear at the top.

What exactly is an interstitial?

An interstitial is a page or advertisement that appears before the user reaches the desired page. Pop-up ads, age verification pages, and pop-ups for legal reasons, such as cookie usage, are common examples. However, the interstitials under fire for this Google update are pop-up ads and banners rather than sign-in or legal verification pages.

What effect does the Interstitial Update have on you?

Unless you are 100% confident in your site’s ability to rank for keywords, you should be working with your development team to remove all intrusive pop-ups and interstitials by January 2017. Even if you are extremely confident, you should still take them out! They are inconvenient for users, even though they frequently increase email list opt-ins.

However, you may wonder, ‘Okay, I’ll get rid of the pop-ups, but then what?’ ‘How can I continue to capture leads, display deals, and do everything else I used pop-ups for?’ Don’t worry. We have a few pointers for you.

If you found this helpful and now feel you better understand the Intrusive Interstitial Update, please get in touch with us! Also, if you have any concerns about how this Update may affect your business, please contact us! We can assist your company with everything from strategy to design, ensuring that you are not caught unawares by any Google updates, including this one!

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