A Little Background
Two years ago Google started implementing “labels” next to sites on mobile search results for sites that are mobile friendly, so you know before hand whether or not that site is going to be hard to navigate on your phone. If you’ve used Google at all on your mobile device, you’ve probably seen this label next to any site that’s responsive and meets Google’s mobile friendly criteria.
After a few months of implementing these labels, Google decided to officially take mobile friendliness into their mobile search algorithm, giving preference to responsive sites on mobile devices over those that aren’t.
Fast forward to a year and half later, and about 85% of all pages in Google’s mobile search results are now mobile-friendly! That’s a big jump from where we were just a few years ago.
What Are the New Changes?
An algorithm change and a design change.
Google’s going to remove the “mobile friendly” label next to responsive sites to help keep search results uncluttered and easy to read. But make no mistake — Google is still taking their mobile friendly criteria into the search ranking algorithm.
The Big Algorithm Change
Starting January 10, 2017, Google is going to start docking sites that have intrusive interstitials. An Interstitial is content that is displayed before or after a page load — Think of them as pop-ups that appear when you visit a web page. These could be advertisements, email sign-ups, or anything that requires the user to fill out or dismiss to continue reading the actual content that was indexed by Google — i.e. what the user was actually looking for when they clicked your website link on Google’s search page.
Google’s reasoning for doing so that is that these interstitials provide a poorer experience compared to pages where content is immediately viewable.
What Does Google Consider an Intrusive Interstitial?
- Pop-ups that cover the main content, either immediately on page load or delayed (while they are scrolling through the page).
- Standalone pop-ups that the user has to dismiss or fill out before accessing the main content of the page.
- Layouts where the above-the-fold section of the page appears to be similar to a standalone interstitial with the original content placed beneath the fold.
Acceptable Forms of Interstitials
- Interstitials that are related to legal obligations like cookie usage or age verification.
- Login pop-ups for content that is not publicly indexable or content that is behind a paywall.
- Banners that use a reasonable amount of screen real estate and are easy to dismiss.
Are You Ready for Google’s New Search Ranking Method?
As mobile device usage continues to sky rocket with no signs of slowing down, ensuring your site properly meets Google’s requirements for indexing is crucial in helping people find your business. If you need help getting your website up-to-date with Google’s standards, contact 10 Pound Gorilla today for a free estimate.