Google to Penalize Websites that Use Pop-Up Install Ads

Google to Penalize Websites that Use Pop-Up Install Ads

17.09.2015
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In a recent announcement Google declared a fight against all mobile websites that use pop-up install ads. Pop-up ads are very annoying especially on mobile devices, they block majority and sometimes all of the content, and prompt to download the site’s app. Websites using pop-up app install ads will be penalized and their SERPs down ranked. That will of course have a negative effect on advertisers, publishers and content creators as these ads are rather easy to monetize.

Surely some website apps are much easier to use than mobile versions of websites, but most of the time users want to see just one thing on the page rather than installing an app that they would never use again. Users need and want content, not an irritating difficult to close pop-up. Thankfully for the average user Google is on the case to solve this issue.

In a post published in Webmaster Central Blog Google says it will address the problems with giant app install ads by issuing warnings and down grading the websites that use app install ads. According to Google, these ads take a toll on the users’ search experience; they cover the content making it rather difficult to read and are often difficult to close. The ‘x’ button that closes the ad is frequently very tiny and hard to find.

According to Daniel Bathgate, software engineer at Google, the detailed analysis of users’ search activity shows that they don’t like pop-up app install ads at all. Users want to see content, not a giant ad that covers the content and makes it difficult to use the website.

Google recommends getting rid of pop-up ads that prompt users to install website’s apps before running mobile-friendly test. If they fail to do so, the test will issue a warning. Meanwhile, Google plans to mark websites with pop-up app install ads as “not mobile-friendly” starting November 1. If penalized, these websites will lose their rank in search results.

Research shows that Google users hated the pop-up ads so much that 69% completely abandoned the website as soon as they saw the ad, and only 9% clicked on the ad and went to the Play Store to install the application.

What’s interesting is that Google websites and services also have pop-up app install ads. They are very big and very annoying as any other ad on the Web. So, maybe Google should get rid of its own app install ads first? And hopefully they will!

Apple is going to reduce the amount of mobile pop-up app install ads as well. Apple’s new iOS 9 will get a “content blocker” that enables users to block all the ads.

Bottom Line

Advertisers, publishers and content creators will have to look for other ways of showing ads on mobile devices. Although Google won’t block standard and small pop-up app install ads, it’s getting really hard to monetize. The PC market is getting less and less lucrative, while it’s really hard to earn money on mobile without hurting users and violating Google’s guidelines. As to the users, they’re going to have a more pleasant search experience with fewer ads.