Google Improves Mobile Search Experience Updating Mobile Accessibility Requirements
The last few years we’ve seen Google prioritize the importance and its focus on mobile search and accessibility. In 2015 they officially named mobile friendliness as a ranking signal, adding a mobile friendly label to all search results so a user is alerted they will NOT to have to zoom, pan or scroll when choosing a search result. Since Google committed to mobile accessibility, 85% of search results are mobile friendly with the rest being virtually filtered out. Now, with indexes mostly updated and to reduce clutter, the mobile friendly label will be eliminated.
One interested in their own mobile viability will still be able to check mobile friendliness via the test in Google Search Console. The most recent update news from Google, regarding mobile usability, is they will be penalizing sites that use pop up ads.
Tired Of Those Annoying Pop Ups? So Is Google!
Starting in January 2017, we will start seeing a dramatic reduction in those annoying pop up ads, more technically referred to as intrusive Interstitial ads. Google feels (and who could argue) that these pop up ads create a poor user experience, especially on mobile devices. To improve the mobile search experience, come January, Google’s position will be that if a page’s content is interfered with and/ or not easily accessible to a mobile user it will likely see it’s rank drop.
Not All Pop Ups Are Bad
The good news for marketers is, there are three specific types of Pop Up or Interstitial that will be labeled by Google as intrusive. They are:
- popups that cover the main content after the user navigates to a page from the search results (either immediately or while the user is browsing the page)
- standalone popups that must be dismissed before accessing content
- layout where the popup mimics the above-the-fold content but original content has been in- lined underneath the fold.
While it may feel like the move is comprehensive against such forms of advertising, Google is making exceptions for popups that manage legal obligations, such as:
- cookie usage
- age verification
- login dialog for pages that are not indexed
- “banners that use a reasonable amount of screen space and are easily dismiss – able.”
There are over 1,000 plugins available in the WordPress directory that manage pop up ads. If your site uses any type, even those not being penalized, get proactive and make sure it’s within the new guidelines. Another common example is a newsletter signups, which is not exempt from penalization. WordPress sites that display pop ups for different reasons such as coupons, promos, memberships and ads will need to be very sure the sizes of the pop ups fit Google’s size guidelines. DO NOT ASSUME that since you use a plugin from the WordPress directory that it will be updated to meet guidelines.
Any concerns, give us a call and we’ll review. Happy to answer your questions.