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
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
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:
FAQ: Why Aren't My Property Listing Pages
Index pages for Realtors - what you need to know
for great SEO