Google Algorithm Update: Targeting Pesky Mobile Pop-ups

It seems that Google is releasing a new update every second day. Seriously do the tech heads in Silicon Valley ever sleep? This newest change is an important one for companies looking to improve thier mobile rankings and email marketing. Google has announced that com January 2017 they will be unleashing Part 2 of Google’s mobile-friendly update ‘Mobilegeddon’. January still feels light-years away it won’t hurt to get ahead of the pack, to avoid penalties, we all know how fast Christmas comes around and soon after we will be welcoming in the new year. Here at Milk It we believe proactivity is good for business, so let’s get ahead of the ball and start preparing for the change now! We love preventions better than cures…

What changes?

Part 1 of Mobilegeddon focussed on optimising the mobile experience by making text and images easy to view without zooming and encouraged appropriate spacing of tap targets. With this Google saw a substantial increase in the amount of ‘mobile-friendly’ sites, with 85% meeting the criteria. Part 2 works to further improve this experience. Google has switched focus to target intrusive interstitials that interrupt or make it difficult for users to view the content they are after. Yep, we’re looking at you annoying mobile pop-ups! Mobilegeddon Part 2 will work to penalise sites that use this kind of intrusive marketing and make content visibility a ranking factor for mobile. Google released a statement on the Official Google Webmaster blog.

“While the underlying content is present on the page and available to be indexed by Google, content may be visually obscured by an interstitial. This can frustrate users because they are unable to easily access the content that they were expecting when they tapped on the search result.”

What Qualifies as an intrusive interstitial?

If you’re an avid pop-up user there’s no need to quit your job and move to South America to become a potato farmer. Actually, you’ve got plenty of time to adjust your business strategies and avoid weakening your search ranking. The nice guys over at Google even provided us with some examples of pop-ups that will/won’t be penalised.

Examples of Interstitials that make content less-accessible

According to Google’s Webmaster blog the following are examples of intrusive content.

  • 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 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 inlined underneath the fold.


Examples of interstitials that won’t be penalised

Google acknowledges that not all pop-ups should be penalised. They also provided a list of acceptable interstitials.

  • 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, such as private content like email or unindexable content that is behind a pay wall.
  • 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.


Get Ready!

As I mentioned early a little proactivity will go a long way! The easiest way to prepare yourself is to do a full audit of your site on mobile. If you find that your pop-ups unnecessarily impede on the visibility or accessibility of your content then take time to change your strategy. Put yourself in a mobile user’s shoes, are you annoyed by the pop-ups while accessing your site? If it a pleasant experience? Even shrinking the size of the pop-up so it doesn’t cover the entire screen will make a huge difference.

Get prepared for the new year and take your mobile optimisation to the next level. Don’t you say I didn’t warn you!

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