Over the past couple of years, Google has shown a strong focus on user experience on mobile devices. They have developed their algorithms to address customer experience and usability and to encourage organizations to meet certain standards.
For instance, Mobilegeddon looked not only at the responsiveness of a mobile site, but how truly mobile-friendly a site was with photos, font sizes and more. Google AMP pushed an open-source design structure, created by Google to make the user experience on mobile faster and more efficient.
The announcement of Google’s latest algorithm, which penalizes sites that use mobile pop-up ads, is consistent with the heart of the changes they’ve been making lately. According to Google’s Webmaster Central Blog, Google plans to make two major changes:
This means that sites that have pop-ups (or interstitials, as Google likes to call them) create a poorer user experience, especially on mobile devices with smaller screens.
As a result, the site with intrusive interstitials will be penalized and may not rank as high in the search results.
Here are some examples of techniques that, according to Google, make content less accessible to a user:
Here is a list of examples that will not be affected by the change:
This change is expected to take place on January 10, 2017.
We all understand that calls to action are a normal part of marketing and are instrumental to on-site conversions. Users expect them in some form or another when consuming content. So how can you promote engagement within your content, without resorting to annoying (and soon-to-be rank harming) pop-ups?
Now, to be clear, as outlined above, there are still plenty of ways you can use interstitials. They simply have to be done in a less invasive way. There are plenty of other ways you can create points of engagement from within your content as well. Below are a couple of ideas to consider.
There are a few instances where in-text hyperlinks can work well as calls to action. These are separate from simply linking to a product or service page. In order to replace a pop-up ad, which had previously been driving lead generation, you will want these hyperlinks to point to a landing page of some kind.
This could be as simple as “Sign up to our mailing list to stay up to date on our latest sales, promotions and news,” with a link from the words “sign up.”
Still struggling to optimize your site for mobile devices? Download our guide, Mobile SEO For Your Web Presence for quick tips and pointers. Yes, we literally just used an example as an actual CTA ;)
Prompts can be used in much the same way a banner can, but they are often far less intrusive for the user and tend to blend in with the rest of the content more naturally. Many website themes include shortcodes for prompts to do the heavy lifting for you. Prompts can often include a headline, some body copy, maybe an image and a button.
Here is an example of the style of prompts we have used on our blog:
The key with using prompts is to follow the same warnings outlined by Google for banners. Make sure all text and images are easily read on a mobile device.
As much as this change will ultimately hurt companies who rely on the ad venue to survive, our job as marketers is to solve customer pain points, not create them. Like Google, our focus should be on the user experience and not website traffic and conversion rates.
“The single most important thing is to make people happy. If you are making people happy, as a side effect, they will be happy to open up their wallets and pay you.” — Derek Sivers, Founder, CD Baby
The post The death of mobile pop-ups and what you can do instead appeared first on Search Engine Land.