Mobilegeddon 2017: The War on Intrusive Interstitials

Kimberly Burghart September 20, 2016

Preparing for Mobilegeddon 2017 – What You Need to Know

With the continued rise of mobile usage taking over as the primary method of browsing the internet, appealing to consumers with mobile-responsive websites has become more important than ever. The original Mobilegeddon of 2015 shocked many unprepared companies as they watched their rankings significantly drop. Google’s recent announcement of a second coming has many worried again; however, Google insists that, “it’s not the end of the world.”

Google’s crusade is to continue influencing more sites to comply to their mobile-friendly standards in order to maintain a high ranking. Their goal this time is to primarily reduce intrusive interstitials—ads that pop up over top of web content. So what does this mean for you and your website? And what can you do to protect your Google ranking?

The Basics of Preparing for Mobilegeddon 2.0

Google announced the release of the new algorithm update would come on January 10th, leaving businesses only a few months to prepare. Prepare for what though? Google once again is reinstating the importance of creating mobile-friendly web pages, so if you haven’t already moved to a responsive web design since the last Mobilegeddon, your website is long overdue for an overhaul and you should focus on that aspect first.

Briefly mentioned before, this change primarily focuses on hindering pages with in-your-face advertising, specifically non-vital pop-ups that overlay webpage content and force users to close them out before they can view the main content. Making sure your page is void of this type of advertising should protect you as Google’s algorithm update rolls out. While interstitials ads will lower your ranking, pop ups for log-ins, age verification, and cookie usage will still be allowed without putting your site at risk.

A Better Ranking for a Better User Experience

With the bulk of users browsing on phones and tablets, the necessity of responsive web pages and mobile-friendly design is essential to a positive user experience.

“While the underlying content is present on the page and available to be indexed by Google, content may be visually obscured by an interstitial. This can frustrate users because they are unable to easily access the content that they were expecting when they tapped on the search result.”

Doantam Phan, Google Product Manager

On mobile devices, users typically deal with screen size issues when browsing sites that aren’t optimized for mobile viewing. Pages containing intrusive interstitials consistently receive lower ratings for user experience compared to those sites where the page’s content is immediately visible. This algorithm change is very similar to the Mobilegeddon of 2015, which introduced mobile-friendliness as a big factor for SEO. Only time will tell if businesses come more prepared this time.

Still Recovering from the First Mobilegeddon?

If you haven’t moved towards a mobile-friendly responsive design, it’s important that you update your website as soon as possible. Google’s recent and future planned updates all point towards mobile-friendliness as an increasingly important factor for ranking high in search results. If you do already have a responsive design, make sure it’s well optimized. You’ll want to check for things like:

  • Font size
  • Image size
  • Load times
  • Accessible buttons
  • Ad placement

If you are currently using interstitial ads and they are performing well, you have time to start thinking of a contingency plan, and you’ll want to start considering what that is as soon as possible. If you have them and they are not performing, you should just get rid of them immediately. Lastly, you always want to follow best practices for usability. As long as you keep your site prepared, no matter what algorithm change comes next, you should be in the clear.

Unsure if your website is ready for Mobilegeddon 2.0? Talk to a marketing expert about your website!

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