Google has been doing a lot of newsworthy things today such as giving the company logo a redesign, something the search giant doesn’t do all that often. But Google hasn’t stopped there, something else that the Google Webmasters have just announced is that some mobile sites may be dropping in search rankings in the near future. This may not seem like that big of a deal, but for many people who run websites, it is.
Google has made an announcement via their webmaster central blog that they will be updating the Mobile-Friendly Test today to include one more rule that sites must abide by in order to be considered mobile-friendly. That rule is to get rid of app install interstitials. Yes, that’s right, mobile sites that show app install interstitials which hide a significant portion of the sites content will no longer be considered mobile-friendly in Google’s eyes. This means that if your mobile site uses app install interstitials it will no longer be considered mobile-friendly and therefore, drop in Google’s search results.
Don’t panic just yet if your mobile site currently happens to use app install interstitials, Google is not changing anything right now. After November 1 though, mobile sites that do use them will begin to be penalized by Google and drop in search results. Google advises webmasters to instead take advantage of Safari’s ‘Smart Banners’ and Chrome’s ‘Native App Install Banners’ to push their mobile apps on users. Google’s reasoning behind attempting to push out app install interstitials is because they do nothing but frustrate users and take away from the overall mobile experience, something that most people who have ever encountered one can attest to.
Like mentioned above, these changes will not be going into effect until November 1 of this year. This gives webmasters an appropriate amount of time to make the transition from interstitials to banner ads if need be. If you happen to be a webmaster and would like to put your site to the test and see if it is truly mobile-friendly then you can use Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test by clicking here.