Intrusive interstitials – annoying to site visitors at best and detrimental to your search rankings at worst. When Google rolled out the page experience update last year, it made sure marketers understood the importance of providing a seamless, undisrupted browsing experience for visitors and the metrics contributing to this experience. One of the criteria is the absence of intrusive interstitials.
On Tuesday last week, a group of SEOs discovered that Google was sending out emails to site owners advising them to take down intrusive interstitials to improve their site’s page experience. Search Engine Roundtable’s Barry Schwartz and his team first spotted a copy of the email subject line via a post on the Webmasters forum on Google Search Console, which read, “Improve your page experience by removing intrusive interstitials from [domain.com].”
The post didn’t provide any more specifics regarding the email, but Google appears to be sending out notices alerting site owners to intrusive interstitials on their site that could be undermining its page experience.
“Looks like Google is sending out a new ‘wave’ of mobile intrusive interstitial notices,” SEO speaker Casey Markey tweeted, stating the issue is not a “recon request” and should be solved algorithmically. Site owners don’t need to apply for reconsideration; they simply have to remove intrusive interstitials, including pop-ups and sticky banners, from their site and wait for Google to re-crawl them.
Google defines intrusive interstitials as “page elements that obstruct users’ view of the content, usually for promotional purposes.” An interstitial covers either the whole page or part of it, often completely blocking the users’ view of the content beneath it. The search engine company acknowledges that most sites would have to display dialog boxes or pop-ups for various reasons, but interrupting visitors with intrusive interstitials could “frustrate” them and diminish user trust. Intrusive elements also make it hard for Google to understand the page’s content, directly affecting search performance and rankings.
Intrusive interstitials (or absence thereof) are one of the four metrics used in the page experience update, an algorithm update that aims to understand how users perceive a specific page’s experience. The other three factors are the three Core Web Vitals (load speed, visual stability, interactivity), mobile-friendliness (for the mobile version) and HTTPS security.
While Google’s recent notices on intrusive interstitials don’t seem to require recipients to manually apply for reconsideration, experts still advise taking action and removing them from your site. Intrusive interstitials still factor into your overall web page experience and should be addressed accordingly to avoid a drop in rankings.
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