After six months of warning, Google officially announced this week (Jan. 10, 2017) that it rolled out its Mobile Intrusive Interstitials Penalty. However, webmasters haven’t claimed any issues just yet.

If you’ve noticed an issue, tell us about it in the comments below.

What is the Intrusive Interstitials Penalty?

This penalty only impacts websites that have intrusive popups that block the user from seeing the intended content when they click directly from a Google search result to a web page.

It does not penalize pages thereafter, which means you can use popups that show up later in the click path on your site.  The penalty only applies to intrusive interstitials (popups) immediately following the click from the Google search results page.

According to Google, “Pages where content is not easily accessible to a user on the transition from the mobile search results may not rank as highly.”

Fortunately, Google explained which types of popups webmasters should avoid, such as:

  • Displaying 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.

Google shared the following diagram to further explain:

mobile intrusive interstitial penalty

Will ALL popups be penalized?

No. Google gave 3 examples of how webmasters can still use popups responsibly, without being penalized by the Mobile Intrusive Interstitials Penalty:

  • 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. The app install banners provided by Safari and Chrome are examples of banners that use a reasonable amount of screen space.

And again, Google provided a diagram to explain the above points:

Mobile Iterstitials penalty good

Have you been hit by the Google Mobile Intrusive Interstitial Penalty? If so, tell us about it in the comments below.