Google to Punish Websites using Interstitial Ads

Getting stricter on mobile app install policies, Google will take away the mobile-friendly status

Google will begin to punish SE rankings for websites which show an interstitial advert for their mobile app from 1 November, 2015. Earlier this year, Google found out in a study that only 9% of people who saw the prompt clicked the link to install the app. Basically, any website that prompts users to download its app before allowing access to content will lose its mobile-friendly status in the eyes of Google.

Regarding banner ads, sites that use an app install banner across the top of the page will continue to be classed as mobile-friendly under the new rules.The company has further announced that the latest filtering wouldn’t affect other types of interstitial ads including standard app install banners such as native Apple-supported Smart Banners and Google Chrome-supported ads. 

“Our analysis shows that it is not a good search experience and can be frustrating for users because they are expecting to see the content of the web page.” commented Daniel Bathgate, a software engineer for Google Search, “Sometimes a user may tap on a search result on a mobile device and see an app install interstitial that hides a significant amount of content and prompts the user to install an app.”

Introduced in April, the new policy about mobile friendliness was quickly dubbed “mobilegeddon”. Major sites such as the Daily Mail were affected. These sites risk being similarly affected by the latest changes, and use an interstitial ad to encourage users to download their mobile apps.

In a post, the firm described the new design: “Inspired by Material Design, the new app-install interstitial comes with a beautiful cover photo, a round install button, and matching colour schemes. Technology called ‘colour extraction’ makes the ads more consistent with the brand’s look and feel – we extract a dominant colour either from the cover photo or app icon and apply it to the footer and install button. We found that having a greater variety of designs and colors can improve conversion rate.”

For the software development company in Gurgaon, the changes are geared specifically at search results, part of its ongoing effort to make querying on mobile better. The downgrading will only affect searches made by mobile devices, and it is part of the company’s ongoing attempt to promote “mobile-friendly” websites in search results. 



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