As a local Surrey digital agency, Thunderbolt Digital take a keen interest in anything the helps up stay on top of our SEO Surrey game, including any potential changes Google may be making to its algorithms. Google is no stranger to keeping up to date and improving itself to fit in with current trends and ideals, and their recent news merely cements this long-time stance of theirs.
Google are planning on penalising websites that visually obscure content from users with interstitials and pop ups, so that they’ll begin to rank lowers in SERPs (search engine result pages); Google believe that adding an extra step between search and content can lead to poor user experience and that accessibility should be of the highest importance when it comes to mobile browsing.
This move comes following a number of other updates and tweaks based around ‘mobile friendliness’ and aims to try and decrease the amount of what Google dubs ‘intrusive’ interstitials and pop ups online, as these can cause problems on mobile devices with smaller screens – they’re not as easy to dismiss and can frustrate users who expect a more seamless experience when mobile browsing.
So, what counts as ‘intrusive’ to Google? Well, they issued some guidelines along with their announcement and it looks like webmasters will have to avoid pop ups that block content , interstitial pop ups that have to be dismissed, and banners that push the main content below the fold. However, this isn’t set in stone, and Google are willing to allow exceptions so long as they are used ‘responsibly’, including pop ups regarding cookie agreements or age verification, gated (paywall) content, or banners that use a ‘reasonable’ amount of screen space.
Some have argued that this shift manages to call Google’s own AdSense Overlay ads into question, though any issues found will probably be modified to fit new standards of acceptable ads before the new update rolls out. Speaking of which, we won’t be seeing this new change in rankings until January 2017, but this is certainly something to look forward to in the hopes of pushing companies to be less abrasive in their CTA attempts.