A recent update on the Google search engine update now penalises websites that have popup ads that obscure content and make it difficult for users to navigate the content on the pages.
Through a statement, Google has said that the new changes are meant to address a common problem in many mobile sites in which users are forced to interact with advertisements when they visit specific websites for the first time.
‘These changes are meant to address the issue of ‘problematic transitions’ that we have witnessed in many pages,’ the company said.
The company further said that it was determined to help mobile websites avoid making it difficult for users to access content by using interstitials.
Interstitials are special popup ads that appear on a website and obscure the content of the website. Currently, websites use various forms of interstitials, the most common ones being those adverts that fill up the entire web page so that you have to close them down for you to access the content of the web page. Other interstitials are those that suddenly pop up when you are on a page, and you have to click on an area outside them for you to access the content of the page.
In the recent changes, Google says that it targets interstitials that appear on web pages when a user clicks onto the pages for the first time. What this means is that websites are free to use interstitials for users who are already on the sites.
Interestingly, there seems to have been a frenzy of activity among website owners and webmasters in a bid to comply with the new changes. Google had made it clear earlier that websites that do not comply with the new changes will get penalised and see their ranking drop.
Although websites rely on advertisements for their survival, the manner in which they use these adverts may be annoying to users. On the other hand, as much as Google constantly crawls pages for new content, it seeks to ensure that all web pages are user-friendly and offer fresh and meaningful content.
Website owners are, therefore, obliged to comply with any new changes that Google makes to its search engine algorithm in a bid to maintain their ranking for organic searches and remain relevant.
It remains to be seen how the new changes will affect websites owners on the one hand and users on the other.