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BizReport : Search Marketing : August 24, 2016

Google will penalize mobile websites with pesky pop-ups

Annoying ads are the main reason many turn to ad blockers so the recent news from Google that they will be penalizing those who use pop-up ads and interstitials on a mobile website will be well received.

by Helen Leggatt

The company has just announced that, after January 10, 2017, ad techniques that result in "pages where content is not easily accessible to a user on the transition from the mobile search results" will affect search rankings.

Examples of such techniques are:

- a popup ad that covers the main content, either immediately after the user navigates to a page from the search results, or while they are browsing the page.

- displaying a standalone interstitial that has to be closed before accessing the main content; and,

- layouts wherein the above-the-fold section of the page appears similar to a standalone interstitial, but the original content has been inlined underneath the fold.

Such ads can be particularly irksome on mobile, where fat-finger syndrome can make it hard to easily dismiss such content.

However, Google also noted in its Webmaster Central blog post that there are some instances of pop-up content that won't be penalized, namely:

- interstitials relating to a legal obligation, such as for cookie usage or for age verification;

- login dialogs on sites where content is not publicly indexable; and,

- banners occupying a 'reasonable amount of screen space' that are easily closed.

Furthermore, obtrusive pop-up ads won't automatically result in a complete dismissal of a site's content providing the website has quality content in an area that a user has searched for.

Tags: advertising, mobile, search

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