Interstitials are Okay Under One Condition Says Google

Negative ranking factor related to interstitials actually works and Google’s John Mueller offered a nuanced explanation on this. He was explaining and addressing this with regard to whether mobile interstitials casts a negative page experience or user experience factor. He acknowledged that nothing has been changed and also he had suggested a way that shows interstitials without any negative quality factor affects ranking.

 

Mobile Interstitials

A mobile interstitial is an ad which significantly covers a web page. And this keeps a user from seeing the content. There are mainly two kinds of interstitials.One kind of interstitial is one that is overlayed over most of the web page and one that requires a click to close it. On the other hand, the second kind of mobile interstitial is one that covers the entire web page.

 

Google Anti-Interstitial Negative Ranking Factor

Google had announced in August 2016 that they were going to make mobile interstitials a negative ranking factor and the update to the algorithm had occurred in January 2017.

This is because, Google noted these kinds of advertising triggers a negative ranking factor:

  • “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.”

There were queries on whether Google’s Stance on Interstitials has evolved and the person who had asked this question had noted that interstitials showed a high performance for them. But, a negative ranking factor was the point of concern.

 

Google’s 2021 Opinion on Mobile Interstitials

Google’s John Mueller stated that Google’s position has not changed or evolved in any way when it comes to interstitials as ranking factor. And he also mentioned that it is a part of page experience as well.

 

Google-approved Interstitials

Mueller described that interstitials will not trigger a negative ranking factor from Google.

And his comment was this.

 

Mueller:

“However, this is essentially focused on that moment when a user comes to your website.

So if you’re using interstitials as something in between …the normal flow of when a user goes to your website, then from our point of view that’s less of an issue.

But really, if someone comes to your website and the first thing that they see is this big interstitial and they can’t actually find the content that they were essentially promised in search then from that point of view that looks bad.

But if people can go to your website, they can do something on there, they can start to play a game, and kind of like at the start of the next level you show an interstitial ad then from our point of view, that’s perfectly fine.

That’s essentially something between you and the user and finding that balance of how many ads you show or how you present those ads during the …session on the site, that’s essentially something up to you.

So from that point of view, probably this is less of an issue to focus on.

I don’t know your specific website, I don’t know how it is when users go to it.

But that’s something where probably I would guess it’s okay.”

 

User Experience: First Thing Visitors See

Google’s take on mobile interstitials is that when a user browses your website, he  should be able to see and interact with the content. Google mentions that when a user searches for a content and he is sent to a particular website, he should naturally be able to read the content and get the information he is seeking for and not be kept from it by an interstitial.

 

Summary

SEO is all about driving in traffic, ranking well and seeing conversions. Local Citations are no longer a major ranking factor though they help you rank in local search results. As long as the interstitial is not the first thing a user sees then it should be fine, says Google.