It was confirmed by Google that they began rolling out the intrusive mobile interstitial penalty on January 10.  It’s been six months since Google warned us that this was coming, and it finally began rolling out on January 10 of this year.

This penalty rollout was confirmed by both John Mueller and Gary Illyes.

This particular penalty will impact only intrusive interstitials that happen directly after going from a Google mobile search result to a specific page.  This will not penalize or impact pages after that, so if there’s a intrusive interstitial that you have that comes up later in the click path on your site, you won’t be further impacted – the penalty only looks for the intrusive interstitial after the click from the Google search results page.

Google said this means “pages where content is not easily accessible to a user on the transition from the mobile search results may not rank as highly.”

Google explained which types of interstitials are going to be problematic, including:

  • showing a popup that covers the main content, either immediately after the user navigates to a page from the search results or while they are looking through the page.
  • displaying a standalone interstitial that the user has to dismiss before accessing the main content.
  • using a layout where the above-the-fold portion of the page appears similar to a standalone interstitial, but the original content has been inlined underneath the fold.

Check out the following diagram from Google that conveys the above points:

There are three types of interstitials that “would not be affected by the new signal” if “used responsibly.”  These are they types:

  • Interstitials that appear to be in response to a legal obligation, such as for cookie usage or for age verification.
  • Login dialogs on sites where content is not publicly indexable. For example, this would include private content such as email or unindexable content that is behind a paywall.
  • Banners that use a reasonable amount of screen space and are easily dismissible. The app install banners provided by Safari and Chrome are examples of banners that use a reasonable amount of screen space.

The diagram from Google that is shown below conveys the above points:

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