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Sep 02nd, 2015
Google has revealed that webpages with app interstitial adverts that are large enough to hide a “significant amount of content” will no longer be considered mobile-friendly. This, in turn, can affect their search rankings and make them rank lower than mobile-friendly pages.
App interstitials appear right after the transition from the search results page to the actual webpage that a user has chosen. They usually encourage users to download the app version of the website and, though they range in size, many websites use interstitials that are big enough to cover most of the page’s content. They can be removed from the screen with a tap, but Google explained that these types of adverts can negatively affect user experience and frustrate searchers who expect to see webpages’ content right away.
Pages with too-large app interstitials will remain in search results until November 1, 2015. After this date, they’ll be considered as non-mobile friendly and will start to see changes in their rankings.
Google advised webmasters to use the Mobile Usability report in Search Console as well as the Mobile-Friendly Test tool to find out which of their webpages have giant app interstitials. The company also pointed out that webmasters can promote their app through other ways that don’t involve covering an entire page’s content. One of these is to use app install banner programs like Smart Banners (which are supported by Apple) and Native App Install Banners (which are supported by Google Chrome). Google notes that banners “provide a consistent user interface for promoting an app” and lets users have full control over their online browsing experience.
The search engine giant clarifies, though, that only pages with interstitials showing app installation prompts will see be considered non-mobile friendly. Other types of interstitials will not be affected.
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