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Aug 24 2016

Google is cracking down on “Intrusive Interstitials” from January 2017

Back in November 2015 Google launched the “app install interstitial penalty” as part of its ever-present mission to provide the best user experience possible for its customers.


As is the norm with our friends at Google, this was just the start and they have now announced that as of January, 10th 2017 they will be ramping up their fight against interstitial advertising because they “can be problematic on mobile devices where screens are often smaller”.


What are Intrusive Interstitials?


For those of you that don’t know, an interstitial advert is a pop-up or full page advert that interrupts the viewing of content or blocks it completely.


This form of advertising is pretty much universally hated by users (including myself) who will actually leave a website that does this, never to return. As you can probably guess, I am very pleased that Google is penalising sites that do this!


So what will happen when the new penalty kicks in next year?


Basically Google will be lowering the ranking of websites that use interstitials in the search results on mobile devices in much the same way as it did with non-mobile friendly websites a while back.


Those helpful chaps from Google have even explained which types of Interstitials will be targeted, including:


  • Showing a popup that covers the main content, either immediately after the user navigates to a page from the search results, or while they are looking through the page.
  • Displaying a standalone intrusive 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 inclined underneath the fold.


Google Intrusive interstitial example 1 - Google is cracking down on "Intrusive Interstitials" from January 2017


Three interstitials that won’t be affected if used responsibly are:


  • Intrusive Interstitials that appear to be in response to a legal obligation, such as for cookie usage or for age verification.
  • Login dialogues on sites where content is not publicly indexable. For example, this would include private content such as email, or unindexable content that is behind a paywall.
  • Banners that use a reasonable amount of screen space and are easily dismissible. For example, the app install banners provided by Safari and Chrome are examples of banners that use a reasonable amount of screen space.


Google Intrusive interstitial example 2 - Google is cracking down on "Intrusive Interstitials" from January 2017


So what do you need to do between now and the 10th of January?


Well if you don’t currently use interstitial advertising on your website then you can sit back and relax my friend, Karma shines down on you with all of its glory!


If your website does use these intrusive interstitial advertising then it serves you right because you are messing with peoples content chi!


On a more serious note you need to make sure any advertising elements on your website comply to the new standards before Google ramps up the heat. There are many other ways to delivery your advertising calls to action and the web will be a better place without interstitials.


To find out how to prepare yourself for this update, and more importantly avoid the penalties, then take a look at our guide to Intrusive Interstitial Alternative here.

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Dave H

As our MD, David finds inspiration from running a busy agency. His SEO and content marketing tips, business-savvy suggestions on keeping your company moving forward and industry expertise will give you that helping hand when it comes to making the most of your time.

  • Chrinstine

    Way cool! Some extremely valid points! I appreciate you penning this write-up plus
    the rest of the website is really good.

    11th September 2016 at 3:27 am

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