Google to Penalize Sites with Mobile Pop-up Ads

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Google recently announced that it will start penalizing websites with “intrusive” advertising. These sites will be ranked lower in Google search results. Websites that show pop-up ads covering the main content of the site either while the user is on the page or when the user comes to the page from search results will come under the crackdown. This rule applies to intrusive ads that cover the top half of a webpage and even to pop-up ads that a user has to dismiss in order to continue to the site.

The crackdown is specifically for mobile sites where pop-ups act as a massive irritant to UX and will come into effect Jan. 10, 2017. While announcing the policy in a blog post Google said “Pages that show intrusive interstitials provide a poorer experience to users than other pages where content is immediately accessible. This can be problematic on mobile devices where screens are often smaller. To improve the mobile search experience, after January 10, 2017, pages where content is not easily accessible to a user on the transition from the mobile search results may not rank as highly.”

Three types of interstitials which Google outlined would not be affected by the new policy include pop-ups that are used for verification of a user’s age or to notify users about cookie use as well as small banner ads. In addition to these, pop-ups used for login on sites with private content such as emails or any content protected behind a paywall will also be exempt.

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