The Mobile Experience and Interstitials
Over the past half-decade, the user experience has improved dramatically for those on mobile and touchscreen devices. I’m sure we’ve all experienced the frustration of browsing through Google results on a mobile, only to find that many websites are not responsive at all, with text that is too small to read without zooming, and long horizontal scrollbars. Or worse, sites that are completely broken and not navigable on small devices.
For this reason, 2 years ago, Google introduced the ‘mobile friendly’ label to their search results, allowing you to clearly see which websites are optimised for mobile without having to click through every link. Since then the push for websites to provide a user-friendly experience has been quite the success; about 85% of all search results now meet the mobile friendly criteria! Because of this, only 2 years later, Google will be removing the ‘mobile friendly’ label.
Although the significant majority of websites now have content that is readable without zooming in, there has recently been an increasing problem with websites displaying interstitials (Large pop-up like adverts, often displayed while the page is loading). This poses an issue as the page content is still present on the page, thus it is able to be indexed properly by Google, but it is visually obscured by these interstitials – often frustrating users as they are not seeing the content that they expected from the search result.
These pages provide a poor experience compared to those where the page content is immediately available, especially on mobile devices with limited screen space. To further enhance the mobile search experience, Google will start penalising these web pages in their search rankings.
There are three types of interstitial that are being targeted for being less accessible.
Intrusive stand-alone interstitial
Another intrusive stand-alone interstitial
There are some perfectly valid use of interstitials though, and if implemented properly will not be penalised by Google. Some example of these are:
Cookie popup interstitial
Age verification interstitial
Appropriate advert interstitial
It’s important to remember though that these upcoming changes to Google are just one of many existing parameters that decide your search engine ranking. The main focus for ranking well is still going to be fantastic and relevant content!
Although Nick only has only been in the web design industry for a couple of years, he quickly became a valuable member of the Nexus Websites team.