Fred doesn’t like popovers.
Different name but, for those of us who have been in the industry for over a decade (that sounds like a long time when you read it back), we always expected it wasn’t going to be long before the search engines started penalising Mobile Interstitials and earlier this month John Mueller confirmed it.
“Fred” the latest Google update to hit Google search rankings is designed to penalise (possibly) Mobile sites featuring chat boxes and store locators if they are deemed to be intrusive mobile interstitials.
For those of you that want to know what “mobile interstitials” are:
- Where have you been for the last two years
- Any type of ads that make it frustrating (at best) to access the page as intended
- Check out this brilliant article on SEJ
So, what’s different about Fred, well sounds like where typically at the start of the year the focus by Google was on Ads, Fred is confirmation that the war on mobile interstitials (popovers) looks to be being extended to include anything that takes up the whole or a large proportion of the mobile screen.
It is about user experience and the way to approach this:
Does your site in any way stop or make it awkward to get to the content or actions that were the reason your visitor came to the website?
If most of your mobile website content is blocked by an interstitial and the reason for this is not a legislative or a mandatory legal requirement then you are potentially at risk.
Things to watch out for or to consider include:
- Chat boxes and programs
- Store locators
- Subscribe to newsletter
- Discount codes and voucher offers
The rule of thumb remains the same for SEO, if you were a user and came to your website, will you get what brought you to the site in a quick, easy format, will the experience be a positive one and is it in keeping with expectations with no hidden tricks, content, data gathering. If that is the case the user experience is positive and in general that’s a great start.