This week, Google announced two changes for mobile search that will “make finding content easier for users,” the company explains.
The first change? Google will pluck its “mobile-friendly label” designating pages where the text and content is “readable without zooming and the tap targets were appropriately spaced.”
“We recently found that 85 percent of all pages in the mobile search results now meet this criteria and show the mobile-friendly label,” Google explained in its blog post. “To keep search results uncluttered, we’ll be removing the label, although the mobile-friendly criteria will continue to be a ranking signal. We’ll continue providing the mobile usability report in Search Console and the mobile-friendly test to help webmasters evaluate the effect of the mobile-friendly signal on their pages.”
MAW reports that the real problem — and the attendant change by Google — “involves interstitials and other things that slow down users.”
“While the underlying content is present on the page and available to be indexed by Google, content may be visually obscured by an interstitial,” says Google. “This can frustrate users because they are unable to easily access the content that they were expecting when they tapped on the search result.”
Google will also punish techniques that render content less accessible to users. These include:
- Popups that cover the main content, either immediately after the user navigates to a page from the search results, or while they are looking through the page.
- Standalone interstitials that the user has to dismiss before accessing the main content.
- Layouts where the above-the-fold portion of the page appears similar to a standalone interstitial, but the original content has been inlined underneath the fold.
How is the mobile industry responding to the news? Jake Denny, VP of Sales USA at JUICE Mobile, has strong feelings about the matter.
“As a strong company in the media business, you would expect Google to support higher impact formats that offer their publisher clients a lift in revenue and brand marketers a stronger platform to support their investments in mobile,” Denny told MAW. “The standard mobile banner is dying. This seems counterintuitive.”