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Google to penalize websites with intrusive interstitial content


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Sites that display intrusive interstitial ads will be ranked lower by Google from January 10th 2017, the company said in a blogpost. In addition to this, Google will remove the mobile friendly label from the mobile web search, as the company mentions more than 85% of search results now meet this criteria.

Intrusive interstitials include showing a popup that covers the main content immediately after the user navigates to the page, or when they are still looking through the page, displaying standalone interstitials that have to be dismissed before accessing the main content, and where the layout of the page includes an above-the-fold standalone interstitial with the original content inlined underneath.

Google will not count interstitials that appear in response to legal obligations, login dialogs for paid sites etc., age restriction warnings, and banners that use a ‘reasonable’ amount of space as reasons to rank the sites lower. Note that Google mentions websites with great content will still rank highly if the content is relevant enough, despite having interstitials.

Accelerated Mobile Pages: Earlier this month, Google extended its Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) feature to all its search results, including the Top stories section. In October last year, Google launched AMP to speed up web page load times by plugging a piece of Google code into publishers’ websites. It then claimed that AMP cut down load time by 15-85% in initial tests and then had 38 publishers including BuzzFeed, The New York Times, The Washington Post, the Financial Times, Vox Media and the Daily Mail.

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Google’s Twitter partnership for mobile web pages:

In September 2015, Google and Twitter started working on an open source project (then also called AMP) which would show their users cached copies of their publishers’ websites. Its technology partners included Pinterest, WordPress.com, Chartbeat, Parse.ly, Adobe Analytics and LinkedIn. In May 2015, Google started integrating tweets into its search results on smartphones. Google had reportedly signed a deal with Twitter in February 2015 which would give Google access to Twitter’s tweets.

Note that in July last year, Twitter updated its summary cards on mobile (both Android and iOS) to show previews of articles within the tweet. Twitter claimed that with this update, users on mobile would be able to see the image, title and summary of the tweet in their timelines and that the format was ‘more attractive’ for consuming information.

Image source: Flick user Chris Wetherell under CC BY 2.0

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