Google is making significant changes to its search engine on the mobile side.
First, the company is removing “mobile-friendly” tags while searching Google on phones. While being mobile-friendly still helps sites rank high in search, the tag is being removed.
“We recently found that 85% of all pages in the mobile search results now meet this criteria and show the mobile-friendly label,” Google says. “To keep search results uncluttered, we’ll be removing the label, although the mobile-friendly criteria will continue to be a ranking signal.”
Moreover, effective early next year Google will punish sites that allow intrusive interstitial ads that block content and are difficult to remove.
“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.”
Yep. Annoying. So moving forward, pages where content is not easily accessible to a user on the transition from the mobile search results “may not rank as highly,” according to the company.
Some interstitials will get an exception, however, such as legal obligations (cookie usage, age verification), login dialogs on sites where content is not publicly indexable, and banners “that use a reasonable amount of screen space and are easily dismissible.”