In their drive to improve user experience, Google will devalue mobile sites which feature pop-ups & interstitials. It isn't a blanket ruling and will only come into force in mid-January 2017.
In an ongoing effort by Google to maximise the mobile user's experience on their search engine, another collection of changes have been announced. And there have been a lot this summer.
Any pop-ups which cover the main content and therefore interrupt the user's process will result in a ranking hit.
Likewise, a standalone interstitial page which has to be closed in order to continue accessing the intended page (such as needlessly trying to get you to download the app) will harm a site's ranking.
Both of these changes in ranking come about at the same time as Google has told us that the mobile friendly tag on search results will be removed, now that 85% of search results are indeed mobile friendly.
It's a fast-paced mobile world and pop-ups and interstitials slow down and spoil that experience.
Sites who use both of these features have chosen to implement them; so they will need to be switched off in the New Year in order to not suffer a ranking hit. So if this applies to you, be aware.
Another aspect of this Google announcement is that they will also be devaluing pages which put main information below the fold and what is effectively an ad above the fold.
This technique essentially is a way to get around the aforementioned penalisation of pop-ups and interstitials by having something like "OUR PAGE IS BETTER VIEWED IN OUR APP - DOWNLOAD HERE. Scroll down to view normally", at the top of the page.
This disrupts the user in exactly the same way as a pop-up or interstitial so it's great to see Google will be closing that loophole.
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