The Day That Mobile Popups Died
Today is the day, the day that popups and interstitials on mobile devices will start resulting in Google penalties for the websites that continue to use them.
The search engine initially announced it would begin to devalue Web pages in the mobile search index with intrusive interstitials back in Aug. 2016. With that day finally here, what is the optimal course of action if you haven't stripped your mobile experience of interstitials? Simple - remove them and concentrate your acquisition and sales efforts elsewhere.
While Google gave everyone fair warning of the impending penalty there seems to still be a great deal of confusion however surrounding what constitutes whether an interstitial takes up a "reasonable amount of screen space" as the company suggested. If you're confused, rest assured that everyone else is as well.
The best course of action is to make sure the pages that are indexed in mobile search are immediately available when a user clicks through to the page from Google. That's a rather simple "Yes/No" test but ultimately will mean staying away from overlays that gray out content beneath them (or force users to manually "X" out the popup/interstitial).
There are some other need to knows about this development:
+ Some popups are still OK according to Google such as those required by law (e.g., age verification).
+ Interstitials triggered by exit intent are still allowed as are "page-to-page" interstitials.
+ Desktop popups (or those appearing on larger screens) are still allowed and will not incur any penalties.