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Over the last few months, Google has been making major changes to the way it ranks websites by giving priority to those that are mobile-friendly. Now, the search giant has named ‘annoying’ Mobile App-Install Interstitials Ads as the next target of its 'Mobilegeddon'.
From 1st November 2015, intrusive app interstitials – those adverts that take over the screen and encourage users to download a mobile app – will no longer be considered ‘mobile-friendly’ and will be penalised in search results.
Google explained why on its Webmaster Central Blog:
“Sometimes a user may tap on a search result on a mobile device and see an app install interstitial that hides a significant amount of content and prompts the user to install an app. Our analysis shows that it is not a good search experience and can be frustrating for users because they are expecting to see the content of the web page.
After November 1, mobile web pages that show an app install interstitial that hides a significant amount of content on the transition from the search result page will no longer be considered mobile-friendly. This does not affect other types of interstitials. As an alternative to app install interstitials, browsers provide ways to promote an app that are more user-friendly.”
From this statement, it would seem that using these big full-screen interstitials later on in the browsing experience is acceptable – just not directly after the search result. However, Google suggests the use of smaller app install banners, which it says “provide a consistent user interface for promoting an app and provide the user with the ability to control their browsing experience.”
Google gives the example below left of the experience it wants websites to avoid. If this happens when using your mobile site, now is the time to change it, otherwise it will harm your mobile rankings. On the right is an app install banner, which Google says will be less intrusive:
If you need advice on how to make your website more mobile-friendly, please get in touch by calling 01706 222456 or filling in our contact form. We’d be happy to help.