Google announced last year that it will start rolling out the mobile pop up algorithm on January 10th 2017, that will essentially penalize the pages where content is not easily accessible to a user on the transition from the mobile search results.
The following types of interstitials would be potentially problematic:
- A pop up that covers the main content – either immediately after a user navigates to a particular web page from Google’s search results or while they are reading the content on a web page.
- Web pages that display a standalone interstitial that the user needs to dismiss before accessing the main content.
- When a web page uses an interstitial above the fold and the main content of the web page is below the fold.
Furthermore, Google also stated that websites that display an interstitial that is mandated by law, such as that one to warn users of the usage of cookies, or for age verification, shall not be affected. Login dialogs that pop up will also not be affected. Essentially if a website displays an interstitial that covers most part of the original content, the URL will be demoted in the search engine results rankings. Many users expressed dislike and even frustration when such pop ups block their access to the web page.
Impact of this algorithm:
The algorithm has already been rolled out to dissuade websites from using pop ups that completely lower the user experience when they browse to your web page from Google’s search result. But in reality, since the algorithm was announced early – in August 2016, it gave website owners to remove anything to that effect. So, when the algorithm was rolled out in January 2017, there was little impact seen on the rankings of any of these websites – unless there was something really wrong or the website owners were completely unaware of the algorithm.
There hasn’t been any widespread impact yet. Web publishers are thinking o new and innovative ways to publish these pop ups without losing user experience and yet providing value to the business. After all, each pop up has some business sense in it. There is absolutely no one who will place a pop up simply to create an annoyance!
This is exactly why it is recommended to all the websites to ensure that they test their pop ups on the various mobile devices and check whether they provide their users with a good or bad experience. If there is any hindrance in the workflow, it is recommended that you make a decision about how and when the pop up essential is, and how it can be implemented without causing any loss of user experience. If the pop up is irrelevant on the front page, it’s a good idea to check whether it can be eliminated completely. Same thing goes to the big banners on the home pages that take up all the space above the fold. Well, mobile screen size is limited – use it judiciously!
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