Google to crack down on mobile sites with obtrusive app install ads

Google is set to make more changes to its mobile search rankings, this time downranking websites with annoying, overly-large popups asking users to download their app. Called interstitials, the popups cover a significant portion of the webpage upon arrival, making for a generally poor user experience.

Starting today, Google is updating its mobile-friendly test page for webmasters to point out the issue on their websites. Starting November 1, Google will mark websites with obtrusive interstitials as non-mobile-friendly. From Google:

After November 1, mobile web pages that show an app install interstitial that hides a significant amount of content on the transition from the search result page will no longer be considered mobile-friendly. This does not affect other types of interstitials. As an alternative to app install interstitials, browsers provide ways to promote an app that are more user-friendly.

Those user-friendly app promotions that Google is referring to are app install banners that appear at the top of a mobile page — something you're probably familiar with from visiting Android Central's mobile site.

Source: Google

Dan Thorp-Lancaster