Updating its search policies, Google today announced two minor changes that its implementing to the search results on mobile. Google is removing the ‘mobile friendly’ tag from web search results and is also planning to punish mobile websites that show intrusive interstitials or pop-up ads.
The search giant is planning to phase out the ‘mobile-friendly’ tag from websites as its own data now shows that about 85 per cent of all pages in mobile search results are now mobile-friendly. While mobile friendliness will continue to be a ranking criterion, Google is removing the label to display uncluttered search results to mobile users. Webmasters will also continue to take the mobile-friendly test and see the mobile usability report in Search Console.
Are you as annoyed as I am, by the pop-up advertisements that appear out of thin air and are extremely hard to dismiss due to the presence of a tiny close button, that’s also sometimes hidden underneath another ad? And accidentally clicking that ad takes you to multiple spam pages, opening one after the other. Well, Google also seems to be annoyed with the same problem and is now introducing a solution for it.
These ads or intrusive interstitials — as Google calls it — cover most of the webpage that you were trying to access from the search result. Thus, to solve the problem and improve your mobile search experience, Google will punish these websites and rank them lower in mobile search results starting January 10, 2017.
These include websites that show a full page pop-up as soon as the user navigates to the content page, a standalone interstitial that users need to dismiss to access main content and using a layout that deceives the user into thinking the ad is inline with the content.
But, it is also important to notice that these rule changes won’t apply to websites that display interstitials in response to a legal obligation, such as for cookie usage or for age verification. The rank of websites showing a login dialogs and app-install banners that cover a reasonable amount of screen won’t be affected by today’s changes. But, the search giant will continue to punish those with interstitials asking to download a certain app or software.