Time’s Up…Google’s Intrusive Ad Penalty Is Here!


How to know whether your site’s SEO traffic has been impacted

In August 2016, Google made headlines with a major announcement that every business owner should be prepared for: as of January 10, 2017, Google will begin penalizing mobile websites that continue to use “intrusive interstitials” (aka pop-up ads).

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Google’s continued top priority for their search engine is to provide the most relevant content to users as seamlessly and intuitively as possible. Mobile devices account for almost 60% of all search traffic in the US, and is the bread and butter for Google’s search engine now.
Mobile screens are smaller than desktops, so intrusive pop-up ads have a much more debilitating impact on the user experience than they do on a desktop or laptop screen.
As Google stated in their August announcement:
Pages where content is not easily accessible to a user on the transition from the mobile search results may not rank as high.
Google is primarily concerned about the transition from the user conducting a search on Google on their mobile device, and then going to the actual website they click on. The last thing Google wants is for annoying ads to pop-up right away and disrupt the flow for the person searching for what they want.


It’s pretty simple, really.
Is the interstitial (aka pop-up ad) visually obscuring the actual website’s content or making it difficult to access the mobile website’s page?
If the answer is ‘yes’, you can understand how frustrating this can be to Google’s users.


 Google's examples of intrusive ads


Google's examples of non-intrusive ads



There are two ways to identify very easily whether your site has been affected by this new penalty:
1. Check your SEO rankings today on a mobile device and compare it to your SEO ranking on mobile a month or two ago.


2. Look at your mobile website traffic for the past two months to see if there is a significant decrease since January 10th.


The jury is still out on exactly how widespread and serious this new ruling will be. Many experts have yet to see serious traffic decreases in a majority of mobile sites still violating this mandate. However, others have observed certain mobile sites that drop over 10 SEO ranking spots.
It’s still very early, the this may not have been fully rolled out yet. Also, there are hundreds of different signals that factor in to how a site ranks on Google. This is just one piece of it.
The safe bet is to remove any intrusive ads from your mobile version of your website just to be safe. There are alternative ways to get your message across on mobile with free offerings such as Hello Bar.


When it comes to your website, the best mindset you can take is to put yourself in YOUR CUSTOMERS shoes. Find out exactly what it’s like for them to experience your website.
Intrusive ads are annoying and frustrating for the majority of people. Yes, some industries see tremendous success in generating leads by using them, but they are still incredibly disruptive if not used properly.
Even though Google’s penalty only affects mobile traffic, take this opportunity to revisit your website’s entire conversion strategy on BOTH mobile and desktop. Get rid of anything that could frustrate your visitors, and figure out a better way to achieve what you want.



Need help removing the frustration from your website and optimizing your conversions?