Every day, Google makes little tweaks to the algorithms that control where your site appears in search results. Most of these are minor tweaks that nobody really notices. But every once in while the tweaks are very notable. Google is at it again and this time they are flexing their considerable muscle to protect the user experience on mobile websites.
In a recent post on their webmaster blog, Google announced that they are going be cracking down on sites that use an interstitial to disrupt the user experience. They will penalize sites that utilize pop-ups that interfere with or obscure the ability of the reader to interact with a website upon page-load.
That doesn’t mean that interstitial will go away entirely, but they will be a much smaller portion of the mobile screen or they have to be functional (i.e. a login screen as opposed to large ads). The signal check that originally looked for a notification of an available mobile app interstitial is being moved and not totally done away with.
Publishers of online news may be one of the biggest categories hit by this change. Interstitials have long been used as a revenue source and a mechanism for growing mailing lists. But they aren’t the only ones doing this.
What is the user experience that your visitors have on your website? Is it inviting? Does it make it easy for them to engage with your business? Does it make it easy for them to do business with you?