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Google has announced that it will soon revamp its mobile search functionality to better aid users on their journey through the web.
This improvement comes in two major forms.
Firstly, the company announced that it will shed its “mobile-friendly” label from websites altogether, thanks to the steady growth of mobile web traffic. The company notes that it found “85% of all pages in the mobile search results now meet this criteria”. The removal of the label serves to reduce clutter, but will remain as a ranking signal.
Secondly, and perhaps the change with the the biggest update, is its treatment of websites that use interstitials on the mobile web.
Google wants to clean up the mobile web, and punishing intrusive interstitials is part of its plan
Interstitials — advertisements that pop up on a first-visit to a page — will be required to meet Google’s new standard criteria.
“Pages that show intrusive interstitials provide a poorer experience to users than other pages where content is immediately accessible,” explains Google.
“To improve the mobile search experience, after January 10, 2017, pages where content is not easily accessible to a user on the transition from the mobile search results may not rank as highly.”
Google suggests that web pages should be easy to dismiss, not defer the user’s gaze away from consuming the website’s content, or content that’s seemingly hidden beneath the page fold.
It’s not a huge change for consumers though. We’ll likely still see interstitial on mobile websites, but at least from 10 January 2017, they’ll be a little less annoying.