Google loves mobile-friendly websites, and it rewards them with higher search rankings on mobile devices. But if your business uses disruptive ads to promote or get customers to install your app, Google won't think twice about taking it that ranking back.
The search giant announced that it will soon crack down on mobile websites that use interstitial app install ads. It will penalize these websites by withdrawing its "mobile-friendly" status, effectively knocking them down on search result rankings. The change is set to take effect on Nov. 1, giving business users just two months to make the switch to banner ads.
Google defines interstitial app install ads as those that "hide a significant amount of content on the transition from the search result page," the company wrote on its developer blog. [Best DIY App Makers 2015]
Interstitial app install ads are typically in the form of full-page ads that cover the entire content, so users are forced to either click on the install button or find the tiny exit button to close the ad and actually view the Web page. This delivers a "bad search experience" and is "frustrating for users because they are expecting to see the content of the web page," Google's research revealed.
However, this doesn't mean businesses can't use their mobile websites to redirect customers to install their app. This is, after all, one of the easiest ways to grow an app user base or simply inform customers that a business has an app that delivers an overall improved experience over its website.
Instead of interstitial app install ads, Google suggests using user-friendly banner ads, which typically appear as a small bar at the top of mobile websites. This allows users to still view the website's content and easily click out of the ad.
Google says banner ads are "less intrusive and preferred" and "provide a consistent user interface for promoting an app," while giving more users more autonomy over their browsing experience.
There are several ways to create Google-approved banner app install ads. For the DIY route, check out as Smart Bannersfor iOS and Native App Install Banners for Android. Businesses can also make their own using a third party app or from scratch, as long as they do not intrude on the website's content.
To check if your mobile website and app ads are up to par with Google's mobile-friendliness standards, check out its Mobile-Friendly Test, which is already updated with the restriction on interstitial app install ads. The Mobile Usability report will also reveal additional concerns, such as any pages with issues that need to be addressed.