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How to Avoid Google’s Mobile Intrusive Interstitials Penalty

Here’s a fact: 48% of consumers start mobile research with a search engine. Nearly half of consumers aren’t going directly to a website. They’re starting their search using keywords on a search engine, which is probably Google, considering 1.6 billion users visit Google a month. Why’s this important?

Effective January 10th, 2017, Google began penalizing you for intrusive interstitials on your mobile site(s). But why? What’s this mean and what are intrusive interstitials?

Back in August 2016, Google announced “pages that show intrusive interstitials provide a poor experience to users than other pages where content is immediately accessible. This can be problematic on mobile devices where screens are often smaller.” Their overall goal is to ensure users get access to the content they seek.

When a user clicks on your site from a Google search and they encounter an intrusive interstitial, Google will demote your search rankings. It might not happen immediately, but it’s worth thinking about its potential impact on your site visibility with mobile usage on the rise.

Here are three examples of intrusive interstitials provided by Google.

These images are sourced from Google’s blog post.

You’re probably thinking to yourself but wait, how are you supposed to get subscribers? How else do you get your call to action in front the consumer? Keep in mind, Google’s intrusive interstitial signal only applies to the click from a search result direct to the site. This penalty does not impact clicks paths from within your website. But it’s time to look at your mobile strategy and optimize it if you haven’t already. Here’s some advice on how to prevent this penalty.

And as a friendly reminder, directly from Google, they apply hundreds of signals when it comes to rankings. If your site has valuable, relevant content, your site rankings might not be affected regardless of this new penalty.

Now, here’s what you should consider:

  1. How does the existing interstitial fit into my mobile strategy? What’s the purpose?

  2. Review existing intrusive interstitials on desktop vs. mobile site(s).

  3. Do I need to remove or change an existing interstitial on my mobile site?

  4. Look at your data to use it as a benchmark and look at it again, after you make changes.

  5. Use the data to confirm or deny changes made to your interstitials as a part of your mobile strategy.

  6. Lastly, make sure your site content is pertinent to your target audience. Are you using applicable keywords and engaging your audience with what they care about most (not just what you’re trying to pitch or sell?) When it comes to awesome and successful marketing, relevant content and popup ads go hand-in-hand!

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