Google is updating its algorithms used to rank its search results so that sites with pop-up adverts are less likely to be featured in the top results. The company wants to discourage websites from blocking their content with large pop-up ads that force the reader to click them to access the site.
Due to come into effect at the beginning of next year, sites with pop-ups will place much lower on the search results. One expert believes that Google would like to give users less reason to use ad-blockers as adverts are integral to the company.
However, Google said: “Pages that show intrusive interstitials [elements that cover the content] provide a poorer experience to users than other pages where content is immediately accessible,” it blogged.
“This can be problematic on mobile devices where screens are often smaller.”
Although Google wants to discourage pop-ups, it has made it clear that there will be some exceptions including cookie warnings, age restriction checks and smaller banner ads. These will not affect the webpage’s ranking.
The three main types of pop-up that Google wants to discourage include: pop-ups that cover part of the main content, a temporary site which has to be dismissed in order to get to the content and ads that cover the screen, forcing the reader to scroll to see the content.
Director of advertising research at the HIS consultancy, Daniel Knapp said: “Google is one of the largest advertising companies in the world, but it’s in a very different position to Facebook, Snapchat and other global media consumption apps,”
“Google is still very reliant on the desktop and mobile web to make money, and it’s much more difficult to clean up that experience than the native app environments,”
“That’s why it needs to tighten the screws on everyone with this crackdown.”