Everyone is in business to make money. We all might say we have other reasons, and a lot of them might be true. Some of us like the feeling of accomplishment, others enjoy the feeling of power, but it all boils down to being able to make a living. So nobody holds it against companies, websites or other entities when they try to make a few bucks. That is, besides Google. It seems like they dominate the news, but that is because they actually do. I mean, they pretty much own all web traffic. In another move that is going to shake up the landscape, Google announced that they are launching a crusade against large interstitial ads for apps.
What is the update?
When a website shows an add that takes up the whole page for a user, that is called an interstitial. Their most common uses are for getting you to sign up for email newsletters, take advantage of discounts, click on outbound links, or in this case to download the corresponding application for a certain website. If you go to a website on mobile that has an application, then they are going to suggest that you download said app to make their lives easier. This is because apps work a lot better on their native devices than complicated web pages that take a long time to load. However, this new update will penalize those web pages that show you a large interstitial that suggests that you download their application.
Why the penalty?
In short, Google doesn’t want user experience to be lessened because they have to deal with an annoying interstitial. If the ad is too big, then it is going to cover up a lot of content, and get in the way of having a good experience with the page. After all, content is what drove your users to you in the first place. Anything that interferes with this mobile experience is going to draw a penalty from the tech giant.
What it means for you
This is just another show of force from the largest search engine company in the universe. The good thing is that they are steadfast in what they believe in. This shows that they mean business when they say that mobile is all about the user, and that they want experience to be the driving factor in website design and usability. Not profit. If you are trying to push your app on users too much, or anything else for that matter, then you should expect a search ranking penalty. Make sure to put your users first.
Tip: The same principle applies to many different areas, too. All sorts of pop ups, too many images, instant-play videos, and flashy banners all take away from user experience. If Google hasn’t cracked down on them yet, they will soon. Use your mobile website, and see which things get in your way. Ask yourself if your experience with the page would be better if that certain weren’t there. If that’s true, then get rid of it or else sheriff Google will put out a warrant for you before you know it.
Although the update won’t come into effect until November first, it is advisable that you start working on this, and other annoying things about your site now. Google’s update against invasive interstitials shows that they are sticking to their guns, and putting the user first. You might think that pushing an ad will make you money, but it won’t. Any short terms gains from ads, are going to be washed away when you SERP rank is blasted into oblivion.