What You Need to Know About Google's New Penalty

When it comes to generating the type online visibility that your small business depends on, Google is still your number one priority in terms of search. Not only do the vast majority of all interactions between a customer and a business begin with a search engine, but Google also has a 65.2% share of total search volumes worldwide. To that end, it's always essential to play by Google's rules - and the company recently introduced a significant new penalty that you absolutely need to be aware of moving forward.

Google's Intrusive Interstitial Penalty

Have you ever been browsing a mobile site on your smartphone or tablet, enjoying a piece of content and then suddenly find yourself re-directed to your platform's app store? This is exactly the type of activity that Google is trying to curb with its new "Intrusive Interstitial Penalty," which officially went live around the world on January 10. 

In addition to the aforementioned example, Google also specified that the following types of activities would be deemed "problematic" with the update:

  • Pop-up advertisements that cover the main content as the user is looking through a page.
  • Standalone advertisements that a user has to manually dismiss before they can get to the main content of a page.
  • Using a page layout where a standalone ad appears "above the fold" and a user must scroll to get to the content.

These types of activities could result in an entire domain of pages being lowered in their rankings, effective immediately.

Why This Matters

Google is serious enough about this issue that they began warning sites and businesses five full months in advance - something it almost never does. Even major updates like Panda tend to roll out unexpectedly with very little supplementary information, often forcing businesses to figure out exactly what changed on their own before fixes can be implemented. 

With a full five month warning both in the lead-up to the penalty and as the penalty went live, it's clear that this is a pressing issue for both Google and its users - which means that it's something your small business will need to be concerned with, too.