Everything You Need To Know About Google’s Intrusive Interstitial Update

It’s official, Google has confirmed the rollout of their latest update. You’re gonna love the name; the intrusive mobile interstitial penalty. It’s been in the pipeline for a while now, with a warning from Google almost 6 months ago that it would begin rolling out the update. It’s fairly intricate so we thought we would help you get your head around it in this post.

What does Intrusive Interstitial mean?

The first question people might be asking is what does “intrusive interstitial” actually mean? Most of you wouldn’t have heard of this terminology before. Effectively, an interstitial is an overlay or pop up on a website that covers part of the content. The key thing you need to remember here is that this requires an interaction with the website before you can engage with the actual content. An example would be a pop-up to add an item to your basket or signing up for news alerts.

Now we get to Intrusive Interstitial. They are, in many ways, similar to a normal interstitial as we have outlined above. However, the main difference is that it requires no interaction with the site to pop up and usually obstructs access to the site’s normal functions or content until some form of interaction is carried out on the overlay or pop-up. A good example of this type of interstitial would be an email sign up that appears immediately when the user loads the page and can’t be closed until the user interacts with or closes it. This poses an issue for quite a few sites that use this type of overlay already, such as Forbes. The likelihood is that the entrance screen they currently use will fall under the realm of an intrusive mobile interstitial.

Acceptable Interstitials

However, it’s important to note that Google has put a fair amount of thought into this update. They do have certain types of interstitials that they are going to accept – as you can see below, the table shows what ads they are willing to accept.

As you might have grasped from all of these, they all represent either a legal requirement, operational purpose on the site or, for the ones that fall outside of that criteria, don’t take up a large amount of screenspace.

Unacceptable Interstitials

Now we’re going to show you the examples of ones that are allowed.

As you can see from this table, all of these are intrusive interstitials that require the user to either engage with or, if they want to close it, find a small or hidden close button. Another good example is if you have a pop up that is asking the user to sign up for their mailing lists and only has “Yes” or something along the lines of “No I don’t want to”. Without the ability to close they are forced to interact with the popup.

What this essentially means is that any site using this will encounter a sitewide penalty that results in a drop in rankings.

Google has laid it out pretty well and they couldn’t really give you any more information on the update itself. For any website owners or editors out there, it’s pretty simple – make sure any popup or overlay on your site is in some way helping the user, is a legal requirement, or is operationally beneficial for the site to keep running.

So there it is, that’s our overview of Google’s latest update. We’ve shown you what you can and can’t get away with in this latest update and, hopefully, allowed you to understand it a bit better. If you found this useful and now feel you understand the Intrusive Interstitial update better, or if you still have questions, why not leave a comment below?

Also, if you’re worried about how this update could affect your business then you can always get in touch with us! We can help your business with everything from strategy to design, ensuring that you don’t get caught out by any of Google’s updates, including this one!

Written by Tony Conte

Founder and Owner of Brave Agency, an Integrated Agency transforming businesses through design, digital and marketing, helping you, our clients to get results by applying the right strategy.

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