The goal for a search engine is to provide quality content and information for the users. Finding best answers to the questions regardless of the screen you’re using, mobile or desktop. Google just announced two significant changes to mobile searches that will improve users to find the best answers and search results; removal of the mobile-friendly label and intrusive interstitials signal in SERPs.
Mobile Search Results Simplified
Google added a mobile-friendly label on the search results pages to help users find content which is readable without zooming in and out and spaced appropriately. Findings are that 85% of the pages on search result meet this criterion and show the mobile-friendly label. Google will now be removing the mobile-friendly label to keep the search results uncluttered. However, mobile-friendly criteria will still continue to be a ranking signal. They will continue to provide the mobile usability report in Search Console and mobile-friendly test to webmasters to help evaluate the effect of the mobile-friendly signal on their pages.
Most of the pages today have content and text that is readable without zooming. But, there are many examples where pages, show intrusive interstitials, in which underlying content is present on the page which Google indexes, but interstitials hide the content. This can result in frustration for users who were expecting information but ended with an unwanted interstitial.
Pages that follow the path of interstitial offer poor experience compared to pages in which the information is easily accessible. This can be a problem on mobile devices where screen size is small. Keeping that in mind, pages which do not offer easy accessibility of information will not be ranked higher in search rank, after January 10, 2017.
Some examples which make pages less accessible:
- Showing pop-up ads, either immediately after users navigate to that page from search results or while scrolling through that page.
- Displaying a stand alone interstitial which user has to close before accessing the content of the page.
- Using a layout where above-the-fold part of a page is similar to interstitial, but the content is present underneath the fold.
Contrary to that, here are some examples which will help your page be more accessible with the new signal:
- Interstitial which appears in response to legal obligation such as age verification or cookie usage.
- Login dialogs, where content is behind the paywall, indexable and might require email to progress further.
- Banners that require little space on a page and are easily accessible, such as Chrome install banner.
Google previously explored a signal that checked for interstitial and asked for the user to install a mobile app. They now see the need to broaden their focus on interstitial more generally as they continue their development efforts. The check for app-install from the mobile-friendly test has been removed incorporated to a new signal in Search; avoiding duplication in the signals. A point to remember is that this new signal is just one of hundreds of signals that are used in rankings. The intent of search query is still a very dominant signal. If the page has great and relevant content, chances for top positions in search rank are high.