Google to downrank sites that show annoying interstitial app install ads

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In an attempt to make web more user-friendly for mobile users, Google will soon begin to take down on mobile websites that use interstitial app install ads.

The search giant said it will downgrade search results for websites that use interstitial advertisements for their mobile app with effect from November 1. Interstitial ads are those that cover the entire user interface.

The websites that use interstitial ads will now no longer be classified as mobile-friendly, Google announced.

“Sometimes a user may tap on a search result on a mobile device and see an app install interstitial that hides a significant amount of content and prompts the user to install an app,” explained Daniel Bathgate, a software engineer for Google Search.

“Our analysis shows that it is not a good search experience and can be frustrating for users because they are expecting to see the content of the web page.”

It is to be noted that websites that use banner ads will not be adversely affected by the new policy and will continue to be classed as mobile-friendly websites. The downgrading will only affect searches made by mobile devices.

High-traffic sites such as Etsy and Yelp both use an interstitial ad to encourage users to download their mobile apps and now run the risk of being affected by the latest changes.

Google is offering an easy-to-use Mobile-Friendly Test where web developers can enter their URL to check if their site should avoid showing app install interstitials that hide a significant amount of content on the transition from the search result page.