A new ranking factor will punish mobile sites using intrusive interstitial ads.
Making money as a publisher on mobile is hard. Now Google makes it even harder. The search giant has announced to down rank mobile sites that display intrusive interstitials.
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"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. Pages that show intrusive interstitials provide a poorer experience to users than other pages where content is immediately accessible. This can be problematic on mobile devices where screens are often smaller," reasons Google in the announcement.
The new anti-interstitial ranking signal will go in effect on January 10, 2017. Publisher using large popups and interstitial can "go wild" during the critical fourth quarter with ads, but then the fun ends.
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Google also removes the mobile-friendly label from SERPS in order to reduce clutter. Mobile-friendly criteria will continue to be a ranking signal.