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All You Need to Know About Google’s Intrusive Interstitial Penalty

From releasing the mobile friendly tag, to launching AMP and announcing the shift to mobile-first index, it is very apparent the direction Google has taken with its most recent updates. Harsher penalties appear to be on the horizon for any site who annoys their beloved visitors.

Google’s paramount goal is to provide it’s users with best possible searching experience, regardless of the device they use. However, the ever-increasing number of mobile users has compelled the search giant Google to shift its focus to mobile. Because the screen is smaller in size, many things (especially popup ads) are much more noticeable and more difficult to ignore on your mobile device.

Admit it, we have all cringed when an intrusive interstitial pop-up (out of nowhere) hinders us from accessing the information we are looking for while visiting a website. The pop-ups are especially annoying while on your mobile device, as the close button is typically hard to access on such a small screen, which then causes us to get redirected to a different page or wait for the pop-up to close on its own.

On January 10th 2017, Google announced that sites that leverage “intrusive interstitials” will no longer be able to rank high in their search results. So, if you are using the intrusive interstitials on your site, you might want to reconsider your strategy. Need help? Contact one of our SEO experts.

Which types of pop-ups would lead to penalty?

One thing to keep in mind is that not all the interstitials techniques will be punished, only those who use the below-mentioned techniques should consider changing their strategy:

  1. Pop-ups that interfere with the primary content on the page
  2. Standalone interstitial pop-ups
  3. Those that are disguised because of how closely they resemble the original content on the page


Types of intrusive interstitials, as illustrated by Google

Interstitials belonging to the below-mentioned categories will not be penalized:

  1. Pop-ups that ask about cookies or other legal obligations
  2. Login dialogs on pay to view sites
  3. Banners that use a balanced amount of screen space. For example, app install pop-ups on safari or chrome.


Types of Non-intrusive interstitials, as illustrated by Google

Other vital details you should be aware of:

  • The intrusive interstitial penalty has been applied only to the pages that searchers land on from the SERP
  • Giving legal notices using pop-ups is no longer penalized
  • Delayed pop-ups will come under the radar
  • Language pop-ups for a Global website will be impacted by this change
  • This penalty will be triggered by on-scroll pop-ups
  • It has nothing to do with whether or not your website is mobile friendly
  • Websites that show exit pop-ups will not see a negative impact in rankings
  • Action bars, slide-ins, and banners are allowed

If you are worried about keeping your website up to date with the constantly changing digital world, you can put the expert team at InterActive Circle to work. We keep tabs on all industry updates and promptly modify our SEO strategy, putting our client’s websites way ahead of their competitors. To learn more, call us today at (612)238-1466.