Trish O'Loughlin

25 August 2016

What’s the Goss on Google’s Newest Penalty Plans for ‘Intrusive Interstitials’?

Earlier this week, Google announced that it would be cracking down on ‘intrusive interstitials’ come January 10, 2017.

What does this mean?

Well, basically, the global tech giant is looking at lowering the rankings for web pages that display pop-ups – those pesky ads that get in the way of your screen either before or after you reach your destination. It’s just one of the many ways Google is evolving its methods, driving improvement to create happier users.

So, why the penalty?

The main catalyst for the proposed penalty is the fact that these kinds of ads “can be problematic on mobile devices where screens are often smaller”, according to Google. This commonly results in frustrated users who feel like they have to jump through virtual hoops before reaching the content page they want. It’s a move for the better in the eyes of digitally-dexterous audiences, and a point that businesses need to take into account in order to avoid invoking a negative impact on those precious search engine result rankings.

However, not all interstitials are going to be penalised…

Before businesses enter panic mode, it should be noted that not ALL intrusive interstitials will suffer from the clampdown. According to Google, the regulations will target those ads that “make content less accessible to the user”.

Interstitials that are considered ‘safe’ from the penalty include:

  • Age verification popups
  • Cookie usage popups
  • Login dialogs
  • Easily-dismissable banners (e.g. Safari and Chrome app install banners)

The latest update illustrates the soaring trend towards mobile devices

Two years ago, Google added a mobile-friendly label to websites. The feature enabled mobile-wielding users to find pages where the text and content is readable and tappable without the need to zoom in. Since then, 85% of webpages now meet that criteria, making for a much more satisfied audience.

This newest adaptation to the mobile landscape only further indicates society’s increasing inclination towards smart devices. As a bustling generation that is always on-the-go, we have become attached to our mobile phones and tablets. Hence, it is imperative that businesses find ways to reach their target markets on these particular platforms, and to do so in a way that satisfies their users.

As Google continues to tailor its design towards a specific canvas, it will be interesting to see how many more mobile-friendly website transformations will occur in future…

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