It is that time of year again: vacationing is over, the kids are heading back to school, and Google is announcing more “suggestions” for bettering your mobile SEO via helping users more easily access your content on mobile. By suggesting, they mean if you would like to continue being visible. After all, everything we do for SEO is to make Google’s users, thereby our visitors, have a better search and viewing experience on every device.
Google simplifying mobile search results
Primarily, Google is letting go of the mobile-friendly label on search results as most mobile search results (85%) meet these standards due to their algorithms for mobile search results. They will continue to provide useful tools such as the mobile usability report in the Google Search Console, and the mobile-friendly test for webmasters to help you improve the mobile-friendliness of your website.
The good and the bad for mobile SEO
The good aspects of mobile SEO and making a site mobile-friendly is to have a site that downloads quickly on mobile devices, renders in a readable way on smaller screens without a user having to zoom, and has clear text and content that is easy to view overall.
The bad of a mobile experience is now more detailed by Google’s most recent Webmaster Central Blog from 8/23/2016. Here is a list of techniques that make content less accessible for mobile users:
- Showing a popup that covers the main content, either immediately after the user navigates to a page from the search results, or while they are looking through the page.
- Displaying a standalone interstitial that the user has to dismiss before accessing the main content.
- Using a layout where the above-the-fold portion of the page appears similar to a standalone interstitial, but the original content has been inlined underneath the fold.
What are intrusive interstitials?
Intrustive interstitials are mobile’s versions of partial or full-page pop-up ads or information that block the primary content. This creates an additional step of requesting removal of this ad before the primary content appears, therefore creating a slower user experience.
Examples of interstitials that make content less accessible
Interstitials that are still okay
- Interstitials that appear to be in response to a legal obligation, such as for cookie usage or for age verification.
- Login dialogs on sites where content is not publicly indexable. For example, this would include private content such as email or unindexable content that is behind a paywall.
- Banners that use a reasonable amount of screen space and are easily dismissible. For example, the app install banners provided by Safari and Chrome are examples of banners that use a reasonable amount of screen space.
Make sure your popup notifications aren’t actually intrusive interstitials for mobile or your mobile SEO will definitely suffer.