Intrusive Interstitials: How will Google's New Update Affect Me?
A few months ago, we here in the SEO department started talking about the announced interstitial update from Google, in particular that pages with intrusive interstitials will be devalued in mobile SERPs. Note, this update does not apply to traffic from sources other than Google’s mobile search. This change is on a page-by-page basis only, so the devaluation of one page in the mobile search results will not impact your other pages, or your website as a whole.
So what is an intrusive interstitial anyway? These are popups that take up the entire mobile screen, and are really difficult to close. In short, they make for a highly disruptive user experience.
How will this change affect REW clients?
Unless you have popups programmed to appear immediately after your users land on your site, you don’t need to worry (I’ve never seen this on one of our sites, but if you have added ads/popups on every page, reconsider this). Only pop-ups that appear on the first page after navigating from the search results qualify for this penalty, and only on mobile.
Most of your traffic will enter your site through a landing page, and then travel to the listings, where forced registration is prompted. What’s key here is the intermediary of the landing page.
Create a welcoming, informative landing page, and then make use of calls-to-action and listing thumbnails in IDX snippets to draw users to the listing details pages. Think of listings as valuable, gated content that is only accessible while logged in.
What about traffic directly to listing details pages?
If you have forced registration turned on, mobile users arriving to your site from the search results and landing directly on listing details pages will be met with an intrusive interstitial. Because of this, your listing details pages are less likely to display in the mobile search results after this change from Google.
However, we find that organic traffic to individual property pages is quite low overall, compared to other pages. Plus, the benefits of forced registration for lead generation far outweigh the small impact in organic search rankings for individual listings. We still highly recommend forced registration, allowing zero views of a property before requiring sign up.
If you want more info on why we don’t focus on listing details pages, check out these blogs from Melissa and Morgan: