On January 10th, Google launched what it called an intrusive interstitials mobile penalty. What does all that gobbly gook mean?

It means Google was promising to penalize websites that were using intrusive ads in their mobile display. You’ve seen those sites you click on and an ad immediately pops up before you can see any of the content you were trying to get to or the ones with ads all over the place that you have to dodge like you are trying to navigate a minefield.

Here are examples that Google posted of what they were targeting:

examples of interstitials

Google claimed that when this new update rolled out, sites heavily using these sort of ads would see a decrease in their rankings in the Google SERPs.

To be honest, I don’t see a ton of these sites in the SERPs. I see them much more often posted on Facebook, and anything Google does in search is not going to impact those sites relying on social media for traffic.

I’m following a few people that have been tracking groups of sites using these, and none of them are seeing rank decreases across the sites.

It is certainly possible that the update is still rolling out, but it would seem that this is another example of Google trying to scare webmasters into behaving the way they want them to behave.

What am I talking about?

Remember Mobilegeddon? Last year Google claimed that they were doing a big update that would see sites which were not mobile friendly have big ranking drops in mobile search. I tracked a bunch of the most unfriendly looking sites I could find on mobile. None of them dropped. Some of them even saw increases in rankings for really competitive terms.

Nonetheless, in the months leading up to Mobilegeddon there were tons of webmasters freaking out and making sure their website was changed to a mobile-friendly format.

Then there was the talk of site speed… Yet some of the slowest sites you can find are dominating search results.

And remember this one?

Meme about HTTP being a ranking signal