You’re visiting a website and interested in what’s there and… suddenly… one of those pesky popup ads shows up. Or the dreaded “interstitial ad” which blocks the content on the page until you take an action. Don’t you just hate that?
Finally, one of the power players is doing something about it. Google says it will penalize sites that use these techniques and push them farther down the search rankings.
To improve the mobile search experience, after January 10, 2017, pages where content is not easily accessible to a user on the transition from the mobile search results may not rank as highly. – Doantam Phan, Google Product Manager
Direct from Google, here are some of the problematic things that will hurt sites rankings in Google search
- Showing a popup that covers the main content, either immediately after the user navigates to a page from the search results, or while they are looking through the page.
- Displaying a standalone interstitial that the user has to dismiss before accessing the main content.
- Using a layout where the above-the-fold portion of the page appears similar to a standalone interstitial, but the original content has been inlined underneath the fold.
Sites won’t get penalized for interstitials that have a legitimate reason to be there – like verifying age or the “app install” banners that may appear at the top of a Safari or Chrome browser on mobile.
Here’s the announcement from Google.