djbaxter

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Barry Schwartz talks about a recent Google comment confirming that interstitial ads can hurt your website via the "mobile interstitial penalty". That in itself is not surprising: Google has condemned interstitial ads in the past.

But - and this is a pretty big but - for weeks now if not months Google's AudoAds option in AdSense, something they have been vigorously promoting for probably a couple of years, has been inserying interstitial ads on publisher's pages. They pop up when you click a navigation link on a website using AutoAds to go from one page on the site to another on the same site.

This is yet another example of Google's policy of "do as we say, not what we do". How is it okay for Google to do this while punishing others who do it?

Those Pesky Call To Action Overlays Can Hurt Your Google Rankings

by Barry Schwartz, Search Engine RoundTable
Jan 25, 2021

John Mueller of Google was asked by Michael Lewittes if those news websites you see overlay those call to actions asking you to sign up for their newsletter before seeing the content see harm in their Google rankings because of those actions. And yes, John Mueller said they would see the wrath of the mobile interstitial penalty.

The thing is, as you and I know, that mobile interstitial penalty, which began rolling out on January 20, 2017 (yea a while ago), really seems to have a minimal negative impact on sites. John kind of admitted it, he said in the hangout "Sometimes the tricky part there is with these slight demotions it's not the case that we'll remove the site from search or we'll kind of like move it to page 100 or something like that. But if it's really relevant content then maybe we'll still show it on on the first page of the search results just not like as highly as it could be. "

The question was asked at the 21:35 mark into the video by Michael:
Because there is actually like one American paper that every, like literally every day, a pop-up comes to sign onto its newsletter. You can see like a little of the text below and under but you have to click it every time. And I’ve always actually wondered about like, first of all I wonder are they really getting that many people on a daily basis to sign up to this newsletter compared to what this might be doing negatively to them. Is that something that would be a negative because it is actually extremely annoying?

John Mueller responded:
That sounds like something that we would pick up on. One of the things there is that we focus on the mobile version of the site and we only use that in the mobile search results. So that's something where if they're not showing it on mobile then maybe we wouldn't be picking up on that.

But if it's on mobile as well then that would definitely fall into the category of intrusive interstitials and we'd say this is kind of like something where we would slightly demote the website in search. Sometimes the tricky part there is with these slight demotions it's not the case that we'll remove the site from search or we'll kind of like move it to page 100 or something like that. But if it's really relevant content then maybe we'll still show it on on the first page of the search results just not like as highly as it could be.


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