How to Handle Google’s New Mobile Penalty

Have you ever pulled up a website on your phone only to have your screen completely filled by a pop-up ad? Or maybe you have this currently on your own site. These are called interstitials and they can be effective for getting your message scene, but also can be a bit bothersome as a user. Google’s taken notice and, as of January 10, have been rolling out penalties for mobile websites with interstitials that it deems “intrusive”.

Google has provided a handy graphic showing exactly what types of pop-ups qualify as intrusive. There are exceptions to this new rule. For instance, if you have an age-gate on your site or a login function that appears immediately when you first land on a page, those would not have a negative impact on your search rankings. You can also get away with an interstitial if it’s easily avoidable by the user and doesn’t take up too much space on the screen.

Source: Google

So what do you do if you have interstitials on your website and don’t want to be penalized? Below you’ll find some key ideas to consider moving forward.

Consider Removing Interstitials

Interstitials will still be allowed for desktop pages, but maybe it’s time to rethink them for your mobile strategy. Even though Google is removing the “mobile friendly” tag in its search results, optimizing your website for mobile will continue to be a crucial part of your digital marketing strategy. If that means sacrificing some pop-ups and avoiding the risk of penalties, it might be worth it. This will require some soul searching to determine if you really need the pop-ups or if it’s time to – as parents of small children across the nation are tired of hearing – “let it go”.

Adjust the Size of Your Ads

Maybe your website depends on interstitials for ad revenue or as a tactic for CTAs. Don’t fret – there’s still options available for you. Google has also provided a graphic guide for interstitials that they’ll allow. Aside from using for cookies and the aforementioned age verification, you’ll also be allowed pop-ups in the forms of banners. If you go this route, you’ll likely be forced to completely rethink your pop-up strategy. It will require a total design overhaul and will likely impact your copy as well. If you run your interstitials through a WordPress plug-in, you might be able to adjust the size easily through your setting.

Mobile Penalty

Source: Google

Only Pages Landed on From Search Results Are Affected

Not all of your pages will be hurt from this new rule. Users can land on your site and go to a new page where they are greeted by a pop-up. Interstitials used for navigating within your site won’t result in a penalty, but you’ll want to double-check and make sure they only show up in the scenario. An oversight in this regard could cause you a lot of hurt in the long run.

Invest In New Mobile Strategies
Filling a screen with an ad or key information about your site is appealing, but it’s not the only mobile strategy that works. Optimizing your web design for mobile is a much more fruitful and long-term solution. N2Q can help build you the template you need and guide you through other mobile strategies that can help bring you in leads and lower your bounce rate. Give us a call today and we’ll gladly discuss what we can do for you.

Kyle Willis

Kyle is the Founder of N2Q and makes a personal investment in the management of each project. Kyle is an SEM/social strategist with over 10 years experience in optimizing websites, finding audiences, building websites and using organic content and digital advertising to create engaging social communities. He will be your expert on social media platforms, display advertising, and marketing collateral. He has worked for large companies like Microsoft, Salesforce, John L. Scott Realty, and Farmers Insurance as well as small businesses locally and as far as Africa and Switzerland.

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