Today Google announced two major changes to how websites will rank in mobile search
The first is quite overdue and will be please many: websites that make accessing content difficult due to interstitials, such as popups and Ads that take up the whole page with the smallest possible dismissal button (and hide or push down content) will be punished!
This will take effect from January 10 2017, while this is great news for your average user, it will mean that those who rely on frustrating their visitors into doing what they want will have to have a (much welcomed) rethink.
To clarify, if your website does any of these, you need to make changes before January 10 2017
- Incorporates popups that cover the main content, either immediately as the user arrives or when they are looking through the page.
- Displays a standalone interstitial that has to be dismissed before the main content can be accessed
- Uses a layout where the above-the-fold portion of the page appears similar to a standalone interstitial, but the content is inlined underneath
Google won’t look to punish the websites that use interstitials for features such as login details and those that have been created in response to their legal obligations.
Providing that your banners or popup uses a “reasonable amount” of screen space and are easy yo dismiss you won’t be impacted. Google gives the example of app install banners provided by Safari and Chrome to reference.
This move doesn’t come as a surprise, as Google has already taken a stance on websites that try and force users to install mobile apps via interstitials instead of allowing users to easily access content.
RIP Mobile Friendly Tag
As of right now Google is removing the “Mobile Friendly” tag from its search results. The mobile friendly tag played an important role during what was referred to as Mobilegeddon last year – where business owners were “encouraged” to make their websites fully responsive.
The reason to remove the label was due to Google’s data indicating that 85% of the websites were now Mobile Friendly, so in an attempt to de-clutter the results the tag will be removed.
Being mobile friendly is still vitally important and is still a ranking signal, the tag simply won’t be displayed anymore.
Read Google’s post here: https://webmasters.googleblog.com/2016/08/helping-users-easily-access-content-on.html