Recently, Google announced some changes to their mobile search results that are intended to make finding content on mobile devices easier for users. One of the changes will make sites with “intrusive interstitials” (i.e., pop-ups, lightboxes, anything that covers a majority of the actual site content on a mobile screen) rank lower in organic mobile search results and thus limit mobile traffic to the site. Google determined that these types of lightboxes are an annoyance to mobile users (who often have a hard time closing them out) and hinder their ability to quickly and easily access site content.
While full-screen interstitials are allowed for topics like responses to legal obligations (alerting users of cookie usage, age verification, etc.) and login pop-ups, Google has suggested shrinking the size of interstitials with other content that falls outside of these categories. Under their new rules, Google has stated acceptable interstitials “use a reasonable amount of space and are easily dismissible.” For example, the “open in app” notification seen here —- it’s not covering a large portion of the content and it’s easy to close out.