Google Cracks Down On Disruptive Ads

We’ve all been there, you’re scrolling a newsfeed, find an interesting link, but when you click through you’re bombarded with ads that overtake your screen. These ads are referred to as “interstitial ads“, and their initial goal was to be an ad that popped up during a natural transition phase on a site or app, making them less disruptive. However, they are now widely used as disruptive ads that hit you right when you reach the mobile landing page. Thankfully for all of us, Google cares about your online experience and is now actively penalizing mobile sites that use these types of ads.

Why This Penalty Matters 

Google is continually working on improving the value of the results they bring people. They are the clear leader in online search engines with approximately 40,000 searches a second and well over 1 trillion searches annually. Google wants you to be happy with both the results you find and your experience on the sites you click to. Research shows that people are more likely to leave a site if they are hit with ads in the first 5 seconds. In order to reduce site abandon rates and provide people with better search results Google has decided to penalize sites that use mobile interstitials, and that means goodbye rankings.

The Ads That Will Hurt Your Site 

There are three primary ad types that Google is targeting, and if you are using them on your mobile site, you can expect your rankings to drop. The three ad styles are:
  1. Landing page pop-ups that appear once the user has clicked through or as they are scrolling through the page, in both cases the ad is blocking the primary content.
  2. An interstitial ad that has to be closed in order to reach the landing page.
  3. An ad that takes up the top portion of the page layout with the original content underneath, requiring the user to scroll and potentially causing an unintentional ad click.

All of these ad styles create experience issues for the user. They require the user to either close the ad or the ad is covering the content they’re after, making their experience frustrating. Specifically, when viewing intrusive ads like these on your phone, closing them can be quite a hassle due to the small screen size.

Exceptions To The New Rule 

Google understands the value and importance of ads for both businesses and users. For that reason, there will be several exceptions to this new rule that will not be penalized.

  1. Cookies – any legal requirements or cookie policies will not be punished by the new rule.
  2. Private login – If a site has a subscription requirement or a members only area the login pop-up will not be penalized.
  3. Reasonable banner ads – If a top page banner ad is only using a small portion of the overall screen it will be exempt as well.

Steps For Those Using Interstitial Ads 

If the ads you are currently running on mobile are preventing users from easily accessing the page, then you will want to shift your tactics to avoid be penalized. Here are a few options that won’t harm your Google rankings:

  • Floating ads at the top of the page
  • A pop-up that occurs later in the page
  • Outro interstitial that doesn’t occur until users leave your site

Don’t Let Pop-Ups Pull You Down 

As a business, you know that Google ranking matters. While pop-ups and in-your-face advertisements may have brought you some success in the past, the internet is always shifting. What worked yesterday no longer works today, and in cases like this, it will now hurt you. Be aware of the algorithm changes that Google and other sites are implementing, and adjust your tactics accordingly. Keep your focus on value and good content, and you’re sure to get the results you seek!

To Your Best Online!

Ingrid Griffin, Internet Marketing Consultant. Blue Dress® Marketing, an Internet Marketing Company headquartered in Knoxville, TN. Internet Marketing Developed, Implemented and Managed to Full Circle! Organic Internet Search Engine Guru. Turn Key Internet Optimization Programs Placing You Everywhere and Anywhere You Need to Be Online®
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