Google rolls out mobile interstitials penalty

If your website contains popups or popovers on mobile, look out, as Google is set to start penalising for this. Google confirmed they began rolling the mobile interstitial penalty this week.

Essentially this is a penalty for mobile websites that restrict access to content that the user has searched for. Google have described it as “pages where content is not easily accessible to a user on the transition from the mobile search results may not rank as highly.

So what does the mobile interstitials penalty mean in practice?

Google have released the images below and have explained that the penalty only impacts intrusive interstitials that make content less accessible, directly after going from a Google mobile search result to a specific page. So the kind of popups that will be penalised are:

  • showing a popup that covers the main content that is shown directly after clicking a search result
  • showing a popover that the user has to close before viewing the main content
  • using a layout where the actual page content is inlined underneath the ‘fold’ of the mobile browser

Mobile interstitials penalty

Google have also suggested that some popovers will not be affected by the new penalty, these include:

  • alerts that are for legal reasons, like cookie consent
  • login popups for sites where content needs to be accessed behind a login and are not meant to be indexed
  • banners using a reasonable amount of screen space, that are easy to close – for example, app install banners

Mobile Interstitial Penalty not affected

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