There has been a tremendous twitch and switch to make page mobile friendly. Many businesses would want to be mobile-friendly to attract more consumers and ramp up engagement and sales. In November 2015, the mobile popup or app install interstitial penalty was launched but it is officially rolled out in January 2017. This was in line with Google Popup Penalty enhancing mobile user experience. Google has also added ‘make page mobile friendly’ labels so that users would be able to quickly find sites wherein the content and text can easily be read and digested without the need to zoom and that the tap targets are evenly spaced out. This was rolled out two years ago and pages have since evolved to meet these criteria.

Your Goal – Make Page Mobile Friendly

Currently, around 85% of all website pages that show up in mobile search results have the mobile-friendly label. This keep search results less chaotic and more streamlined to the results you want. Google will be removing the mobile-friendly label but still the criteria continue to be a major ranking requirement. The mobile usability report is still on in Search Console and also the mobile-friendly test which help webmasters assess the efficiency of the mobile-friendly signal of their website pages.

If you observe that your mobile traffic is experiencing some lows, you might want to check if you are Google compliant and using your popups correctly. Although most pages now have content and text on their pages which are mobile-friendly, there still are pages that show intrusive interstitials to users. Although the content can be easily indexed by Google, this is visually hidden by such interstitials. You could imagine how frustrating is when you cannot readily access the content that you are looking for when you tapped on the link that showed up on search results.

With that being said, pages that show these mobile popups or intrusive interstitials provide a low or poor user experience as compared to pages that can be readily accessed without popups blocking the view. More so, this is even more of a hassle to mobile devices that have smaller screens. To enhance mobile user experience, Google has officially rolled out the mobile popup penalty in January 10, 2017 and with this transition, pages with popups and are not readily accessible by users would suffer from dips in terms of ranking. Google, as always, was right on schedule. This still caught a lot of website owners or brands off-guard.

Improve User Experience by Eliminating Popups

This new ranking signal is just of the many signals that are used by Google in ranking. The intent of the search query is still dubbed to have high impact on ranks so the page may still garner high rankings if it has maintained top-notch and relevant content. Technically, this is not really a penalty but more of a way to devalue pages in case it doesn’t follow restriction on popup ads. However, the results are more or less the same in terms of ranking. The reason behind Google’s action is to allow users to quickly access the content of pages and not wait up or get blocked by popups. Let’s face it -popups can be annoying especially if you are on your mobile devices.

This penalty will only impact the page that users go to after clicking results on Google search results pages. This does not penalize pages after that.

Look for mobile friendly website template

With that in mind, the pages that are not easily accessible to users from that point of transition (mobile search results to the page itself) may not rank well or as highly. This penalty then is on a page by page basis which does not cover the entire site. This means Google will only lower the ranking of a specific page unless of course you have popups or invasive interstitials on every page of your site.

Google specifies guidelines on which popups or types of interstitials would be causing a drop on your site’s rankings; such as the following:

  • A popup that would showcase the main content, either right after the user goes to a specific page from the search results page or while users are browsing through the page.
  • A standalone popup or invasive interstitial that users have to close up before they would be able to access the main content they’re looking for.
  • Using a type of layout which has the features or look is at above the fold section of the page which mimics a standalone popup but the main content is sandwiched between the folds.

On the other hand, not all popups would take the heat as imposed by Google because there are still some exceptions from the rule especially if you are using popups responsibly. Here are some examples to take note of:

  • Exit popups would not be affected.
  • Push notifications are allowed because this would only take up a smaller part of the screen and not obstruct the entire view.
  • Small app banners are allowed as long as it does not cover more than ¼ of the screen.
  • Age verifications and cookie usage are allowed because it is legally in place to secure and protect personal data.

You can also look for mobile friendly wordpress themes free

If you have great and relevant content, you need not worry about this Google penalty. Google will continue to ranks sites that are already considered authorities in their respective industries because of its expertise or authority dominance, brand, and content. However, any brand (no matter how small or big you are) should still take this new update seriously. If you are willing to take the risk of having less mobile search traffic, then go ahead ignore this but if you are a serious digital marketer who mean business then you have to take action and implement a plan to improve mobile user experience by eliminating these rowdy and irritating popup ads that does not just restrict the view but also waste users’ precious time.

It is said that 60% of traffic now come from mobile users. With that in mind, you should start disabling pop ups and rethinking your strategy with these intrusive interstitials. You can start checking your traffic in Google Analytics to see if you’ve already been hit. A drop in mobile search ranking could mean a negative impact on sales and also on engagement with customers. While the effect may not be permanent, you should not take this lightly. Don’t be dinged by the recent crackdown by Google – take action NOW.