Google recently announced that it was to down-rank sites on mobile devices which use interstitial ads. These types of ads often take up the whole smartphone screen, encouraging users to download an app rather than visiting a website. They usually come with a small ‘x’ to close the ad, however often that’s a fiddly process, given the small size of smartphone screens.
Google pushes for mobile friendly web pages using app banners
Interstitial adverts make for a bad user experience and Google has been working hard to improve the mobile web since the start of the year. On its blog, Google says:
“Starting today, we’ll be updating the Mobile-Friendly Test to indicate that sites should avoid showing app install interstitials that hide a significant amount of content on the transition from the search result page. The Mobile Usability report in Search Console will show webmasters the number of pages across their site that have this issue.”
Developers can still drive users to their apps, however, are being urged to use banner ads instead. Jeremy Stoppelman, Founder of Yelp, believes that Google is trying to limit app usage in order to keep a greater focus on its search engine. He writes:
“When it comes to apps, Google’s Web search team has a conflict of interest. The more a user downloads apps, the less likely that user is to search the Web with Google – and that jeopardizes their extremely profitable search monopoly.”
After 1. November 2015, Google will no longer consider mobile web pages showing interstitials as mobile friendly.