What is the Google Mobile Interstitial Penalty, which went live January 10, 2017? Before we get into that, let’s define what an interstitial is.

To put it simply, interstitials are ads that appear in between user interactions.

You’ve seen these for sure. Or even got annoyed by it.

According to Google, here are 3 ways interstitials interfere with user- interface:

  • 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.

Image from Google Webmasters

What is the Google Mobile Interstitial Penalty?

SimilarWeb’s 2015 report states that 56 percent of web traffic to leading websites comes from mobile devices. This development has led Google to go full speed in making sure the mobile experience is as optimized as possible. In fact, a website’s mobile-friendliness is now a mainstream SEO best practice.

Google with its aim to keep search results uncluttered, started to penalize pages that show interstitial ads that interfere with user experience. This means Google will rank them lower in search results.

Not all interstitials though are penalized. Here are some cases when they are not:

  • Interstitials that appear to be in response to a legal obligation, such as for cookie usage or for age verification.
  • Login dialogs on sites where content is not publicly indexable. For example, this would include private content such as email or unindexable content that is behind a paywall.
  • Banners that use a reasonable amount of screen space and are easily dismissible. For example, the app install banners provided by Safari and Chrome are examples of banners that use a reasonable amount of screen space.

Image from Google Webmasters

Is your website mobile-friendly and free from interstitials? We can help.

Gwenn Doria
Gwenn is a Digital Marketing Specialist with 10+ years background in helping executives, managers, and business owners improve their company's internal operations and online presence. Other skill sets include project management, writing, and customer service.