You Have Been Warned: Google’s Intrusive Interstitial Penalty Is Now In Effect

Google Search on a smartphone

Not all heroes wear capes? Google just saved the day with the introduction of the intrusive interstitial penalty. Of course, whether Google is a saviour is a matter of perspective because it is highly unlikely that all advertisers are thrilled about it.

The introduction of intrusive interstitial penalties, as always, is to improve the user experience especially in the mobile platform. One of the key annoyances for mobile customers is the unexpected (annoying) pop ups when they go to a page. Given the smaller screen on mobile devices, chasing the little ‘x’ symbol to close these ads is not something that is widely appreciated.

What are interstitials? According to a blog by Bright Edge, these are “ads that land on a page on your site, where the user intended to go”. Usually these ads either contain an option to skip the ad or an expiration after a short time.intrusive interstitial ads

As stated earlier, Google wants to improve the landing page and customer experience. Failure to abide by the new rule will result in a poor ad rank, especially on mobile. That’s a risk no advertiser wants to take given the increase of mobile use over the years and the rise in competition in every industry. This penalty only affects “intrusive interstitials that happen directly after going from a Google mobile search result to a specific page” (Search Engine Land; January 11, 2017).

The only acceptable interstitials are: legal requests for cookie tracking, age verifications, logins and banners that only use a reasonable amount of the screen and can be easily dismissed (Max Traffic, January 1, 2017). Now the most important information – what can you do to prevent the penalty? The blog, Will New Google’s Intrusive Mobile Interstitial Penalty Affect Your Business, has a great set of details on how to prevent them:

  • Analyze the performance beforehand: if your ads are generating enough traffic and leads to risk losing points, then by all means ignore this warning.
  • Reasonable amount of screen: simple as having smaller banners that do not take up the entire screen.
  • More control for the users to dismiss your interstitials: simply place the infamous ‘x’ as visible as possible.
  • Don’t show pop ups to all incoming visitors: approach at the very end, when the user is about to leave. This will keep the frustrations minimal as they already interacted with the content of the specific page.

At the end of the day, this penalty is beneficial for everyone involved, so Google really is a saviour! How, you ask? Other than the loss of site rank, customers are less frustrated and bothered, which decreases the bounce rate and increases the chances of conversion on your site. In the automotive industry, this is key as with multiple dealerships offering various makes and service, and the convenience of navigating to a different page with similar content, risking the penalty would not be not a stride in the right direction.

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