Google’s Interstitial Penalty To Only Target Pages, Not Sites

Last week, Google announced that they were going to institute a penalty geared towards curbing the use of intrusive interstitials, or pop-ups, on mobile pages. While it was clear that Google’s new algorithm update, due to launch in January 2017, was certainly going to affect individual pages, it was unclear whether or not it would penalize entire sites.

Then, over the weekend, Google employee Gary Illyes clarified via Twitter that this new update was in fact only going to penalize individual pages. This move parallels Google’s mobile algorithm update they made back in March, which provides a boost to mobile-friendly pages – not entire sites.

Common pop-ups that will trigger this penalty include:

  • Pop-ups that obstruct the bulk of the primary content. This may include pop-ups, common on e-commerce sites, that ask users to sign up for their newsletter.
  • Pop-ups that require users to exit out of it in order to see that page again
  • Pop-ups that dominate the above the fold portion of the screen, requiring users to scroll down in order to view the content. This may only apply to certain layouts.

Certain pop-ups will still be allowed, especially ones that improve the user experience. This may include log-in or age verification interstitials (often seen with alcohol-related content).


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