Google Hits Back At ‘Intrusive’ Pop-Up Ads

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New algorithm will demote mobile websites using interstitial adverts from January 2017

Google will be changing its search rank algorithms to demote websites that splash visitors with annoying pop up ads, known as interstitials, for mobile users.

Not due to come into force until January 10 2017, the new algorithm will move websites found with these pop up ads further down in search rankings.


GoogleGoogle labelled these interstitial ads as ‘intrusive’ on a blog post, claiming that they frustrate users because they are unable to easily access the content they were expecting when they tapped on the search result.

“Pages that show intrusive interstitials provide a poorer experience to users than other pages where content is immediately accessible. This can be problematic on mobile devices where screens are often smaller,” said Google.

“To improve the mobile search experience, after January 10, 2017, pages where content is not easily accessible to a user on the transition from the mobile search results may not rank as highly.”

The new guidelines particularly target websites that show a pop up that covers the main content, either immediately after the users navigates to a page from the search results, or while they are looking through the page.

It will also aim to curb websites that display a standalone interstitial that the user has to dismiss before accessing the main content. Using a layout where the above-the-fold portion of the page appears similar to a standalone interstitial, but the original content has been inlined underneath the fold, is also a no-no in Google’s books.

However, some interstitials won’t be affected by Google’s new guidelines, including interstitials that appear to be in response to a legal obligation, such as for cookie usage or for age verification and login boxes.

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