Google’s clampdown on App interstitial ads started a few months ago but is now set to have an even bigger impact on rankings.
Last April Google changed its search algorithm in a widely reported move to make mobile-friendliness an important factor in SERPs. That was followed on November 1st by a further change being made to the ranking signals that could affect online marketers.
Now any site that has large interstitials in place will no longer be considered to meet the criteria of being mobile friendly and could potentially be penalised.
The company obviously recognises that advertisers want to make their campaigns as visible as possible but when banners cover all the content on the page it makes it difficult to close them and view content
Clicking on ads accidentally is seen as a bad user experience by Google and the latest moves are an example of how the tech giant uses nudge methods to encourage web design that it thinks should be used.
How interstitials affect users was tested out on Google’s own products and the result was that 9% of visitors did press a ‘get app’ button but 69% per cent of users abandoned the test page completely.
Google commented: “Instead of full page interstitials, we recommend that webmasters use more user-friendly formats such as app install banners. We hope that this change will make it easier for searchers to see the content of the pages they are looking for.”
App interstitials on sites are still allowed, they simply need to conform to Google’s expectation if SERPs are not to be negatively affected.
The latest algorithm change will not affect other types of interstitials including smart app banners as supported by Safari and Chrome native app install banners.
Google makes certain suggestions so as not to fall foul of the new system: “Instead of full page interstitials, we recommend that webmasters use more user-friendly formats such as app install banners.”
Anyone can check their site to see if they are affected by the new update by using Google’s “Mobile Usability Report” in Search Console (formerly webmaster tools).