January 10th 2017, the day where being mobile friendly was no longer an option but a necessity. The ever changing Google updates its algorithm about 500-600 times a year. While most of these changes are minor some, like the January 10th update, are major (this update is already being heralded as “mobilegeddon 2.”)

With so many Google changes already in place, let’s take a look at some of last years big updates you may have missed.

Intrusive interstitials

In August 2016, Google announced that it will be cracking down on ‘intrusive interstitials’ but what exactly is an ‘intrusive interstitial’? Intrusive interstitials refers to those annoying pop ups that block the main content. They restrict your navigation from page to page due to the infuriating process of having to dismiss the interstitials before you can proceed to your preferred page. Google, quite rightly, believes this can be detrimental to the user’s experience. No real surprise considering the amount of times I have personally left a website due to pop ups!

Not all interstitials will get you penalized however. Google have explained which type of interstitials that will see a penalty and the ones that will not be affected by the new updates.

The types of interstitials that can be problematic:

  • Having a popup that blocks out the main content, either straight after the user clicks onto  a page from the search results, or while they are navigating through the page.
  • Displaying a standalone interstitial that requires the user to dismiss before they can access the main content.

Here are the examples of interstitials that should be fine if used responsibly:

  • Banners that are easily dismissible and use up a decent amount of screen space. Search Engine Journal recommends keeping it at 15% or less.
  • Interstitials that are incorporated for legal reasons, like age verification. Such cases where an interstitial is in place for ethical or legal reasons, no penalty will be received.

Google’s “Mobile-First” Index

Google Mobile-First index means Google will crawl and index the mobile version of your site, using the mobile version of your site’s content to determine your site’s rankings. Before this update was announced, Google previously did this on your desktop site only. According to the Telegraph, mobile web usage has overtaken desktop. The rise of mobile usage has influenced Google to make it a top priority for anyone who has a website to ensure it’s responsive and mobile optimized. So if you have a responsive website, there should be nothing for you to worry about and if you don’t, it would be best to consider overhauling your website to fit in with Google’s algorithm.

So you’re probably sitting there, wondering how exactly does this affect you?

If there is a thing that Google despises, it’s the sites that provide a poor user experience, especially on mobile. Quite frankly, if your website is not responsive or mobile optimized, Google will assume you don't care about the user experience and will penalize you. Penalization will result in you becoming less visible online and will affect your mobile traffic.

What can you do to change?

First of all, the staggering growth of mobile devices has made it more of an imperative to have a responsive website, your website needs to be both relevant to mobile and desktop. Images need to be designed to fit on mobile, the page width needs to match the screen width and with phone screen sizes varying, It’s important to show flexibility with your pages. A website should look good, and be easy to use, regardless of the device. Not sure if your site is mobile-friendly? Google has this covered with their mobile friendly test tool that ranks your page based on how easy it is for visitors to navigate through your pages on their device. You can use this by clicking here

However this isn't something you have to go solo with. Here at Estate Apps, we are willing to help and guide anyone with their digital needs, we have a wealth of experience when it comes to knowing the ins and outs of a mobile friendly site.

Not only can we provide advice on how best to fit in with Google’s new updates, but we can also notify you of any other factors that may be detrimental to your mobile audience. We provide expert SEO services and can help you keep up with the latest trends, make recommendations that improves your results with our clever use of keywords, strategic content writing, competitors analysis and more.