Websites that prompt you to download their app may soon lose out as Google plans to penalise them after 1st November. The leading search engine has announced that sites with intrusive app download interstitials will fall foul of new changes to the way rankings are assessed.
The new move is yet another pointer to the way that mobile-friendliness is becoming the most important factor for web designers, content writing and SEO professionals. Now the latest changes from Google mean that not taking app downloads into account could mean a significant impact on organic traffic.
In a recent announcement, Google said: “After November 1, mobile web pages that show an app install interstitial that hides a significant amount of content on the transition from the search result page will no longer be considered mobile-friendly.”
In a post on their googlewebmastercentral blog, Daniel Bathgate, Software Engineer, Google Search, wrote: “When it comes to search on mobile devices, users should get the most relevant answers, no matter if the answer lives in an app or a web page. We’ve recently made it easier for users to find and discover apps and mobile-friendly web pages.”
“However, 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”, he explained.
Google’s own Mobile-Friendly Test will now show webmasters the number of pages across their site that may need to be changed via the Mobile Usability report in Search Console.
As an alternative to app install interstitials, there are other ways to utilise browsers to promote apps in a more user-friendly and mobile-friendly way, such as by using app install banners, which are less intrusive.
When Google issues a recommendation it usually means that not taking notice will mean an algorithm update will seriously affect rankings. So this could mean the end for app download interstitials.
The new changes do not affect other types of interstitials.