Although this article by Google is a few months old, I’ve finally gotten around to optimizing a few of my own personal pages (as well as my startup’s site) around mobile content and I’ve been even more aware of the issues around mobile user experience.
I’m so glad that intrusive advertisements and popups are going to be a huge signal to Google’s search algorithms and that these sites will be punished for using them:
Although the majority of pages now have text and content on the page that is readable without zooming, we’ve recently seen many examples where these pages show intrusive interstitials to users. While the underlying content is present on the page and available to be indexed by Google, content may be visually obscured by an interstitial. This can frustrate users because they are unable to easily access the content that they were expecting when they tapped on the search result.
Google gave this heads-up and starting a week or so ago began to implement it (January 10th). I have never had pop-ups on my personal blog and have always felt betrayed when I encounter them on sites, even one’s that I visit often and generally respect.
There must be a better way and it is our job to create the best mobile user experience possible for our users who, let’s be honest, have a ton of other things that they can be doing and shouldn’t have to wait or be baited into clicking additional unrelated stuff.
In related news… I received this email last week and it was the first time that someone linked me an article of my own blog that was the Google AMP version of the content:
So, the work that I’ve done to optimize my own content is clearly already showing results and although many have already (vocally) argued against AMP and Google’s move toward “lock-in” I honestly don’t have enough mental bandwidth to care all that much.
Mostly this is because I still (and always have) write for myself and if others get the content and information and encouragement that they need from it… great.
But whether they get that on a Google AMP page or the canonical page is no big deal and I’ve gone the extra mile to optimize my own content so that they can get it. Why not? I had a few extra moments here and there over the past few months so… yeah.
It’s about creating a respectful mobile experience for your users and readers. It shouldn’t be anything less than that. If you have pop-up advertisements or email newsletter sign-ups… please, stop that shit right now. You’re just losing reader’s respect and you’re being penalized by Google for that disrespect.