Google.Inc recently announced a couple of major updates to their mobile search results platform. The first one involves the mobile-friendly identity marker being no longer visible to the end user while using Google search on mobile devices. This is being done to declutter the search results as according to their data almost 85% of the pages in Google search results are already optimized for the mobile platform. However, the ranking criteria for mobile friendly pages will remain the same.
A second update is just a class act from Google. The technology giant has come down hard on sites using annoying and almost impossible to get rid of interstitials, or pop-ups, in mobile friendly search pages to enhance the experience of the user. Starting from January 10, 2017, Google will start re-evaluating the ranking of websites or pages which have interstitials. In their blog post, Google has mentioned that such sites may be ranked lower in the search results.
Now this is just great news for the end-user, including me. We all know how annoying it can be when websites or web pages try to push pop-ups in our face, with literally the smallest ‘close’ button to dismiss them. Even if we try to close the pop-up to access the information we need, more often than not, we end up clicking the ad. All those marketers who were banking on such pop-ups now have their work cut out, and rightfully so.
It is important to note that Google has specified a couple of key factors which they feel are hampering the user experience of consumers. They are as follows:
INTERSTITIALS THAT COVER THE ENTIRE CONTENT IMMEDIATELY AFTER THE USER NAVIGATES TO THE PAGE FROM THE SEARCH RESULTS
STANDALONE INTERSTITIALS WHICH HAVE TO BE DISMISSED BEFORE ACCESSING THE CONTENT
Both the above factors are going to make a huge difference for the end-user, and it is a welcome addition to the mobile search platform service from Google. Google has also pointed out that not all the pages or sites using interstitials will be punished. Websites which use pop-ups in response to legal obligations, such as cookie usage or age verification and banners that only make use of ‘reasonable’ screen estate for promoting information, will not be facing the wrath.
Now the onus is on website owners, advertisers, digital marketers and content creators to tweak their approach and ensure a smooth, hassle-free and mobile-friendly experience.