In an official blog post published Tuesday, the search engine warned that some content will disappear from its indexes when new rules come into effect on November 1st. As part of its efforts to make mobile search as user friendly as possible, Google’s priority is to give users the most relevant information possible for their search query.
It says that it shouldn’t matter if the content is presented on a web page or in an app. Having improved the way in which mobile apps can be searched and found by mobile users, the search engine has now turned its attention to the way content is presented – or obscured- by apps. It believes that users clicking on a search result should be able to see content that relates to their query, even if that query is encapsulated in an app. Pages that have an app install interstitial that hides a significant amount of content and prompts the user to install an app will now be considered contrary to that mission according to Google’s new conditions.
The search engine has already updated its mobile friendly test to downgrade pages that uses interstitials to hide content while prompting app downloads. From November 1st, those pages that continue to use app interstitials that obscure page content will become pages non grata.
Explaining its plans to act on pages obscuring content, Google said, “Sometimes a user may tap on a search result on a mobile device and see an app install interstitial that hides a significant amount of content and prompts the user to install an app. Our analysis shows that it is not a good search experience and can be frustrating for users because they are expecting to see the content of the web page.”
So what can you do to avoid your web pages being banished from mobile search when the new rules officially kick in? Use the Mobile Friendly Test and Mobile Usability report in Search Console now to identify any pages on your site that fall foul of the updated interstitial guidelines.
Once you have a handle on which pages are likely to throw up issues, begin considering a workaround. Google isn’t declaring war on all interstitals or on content from apps. It just wants users to be able to see the content that may find useful. It recommends using a banner in place of a full page app install interstitial.
Image source: Google