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Google to Penalize Sites That Prompt You to Download Their App

Google to Penalize Sites That Prompt You to Download Their App

Google has come out fighting against app download interstitials — those prompts you get from some websites that want you to download their mobile app.

Today the search giant announced that, as of November 1st, sites with intrusive app download interstitials will be penalized:

“After November 1, mobile web pages that show an app install interstitial that hides a significant amount of content on the transition from the search result page will no longer be considered mobile-friendly.”

Not being considered mobile-friendly will significantly impact organic traffic, as it’s known that Google aims to return only mobile-friendly sites in mobile search.

Google’s mobile-friendly testing tool has been updated to reflect today’s announcement. As well, the Mobile Usability report in Search Console will warn you if it detects large app download interstitials.

Rather than using app download interstitials, Google reminds that browsers promote apps in ways that are more user-friendly.

In late July, Google published a post on its blog asking people to reconsider using app download interstitials. When I initially reported on it I suggested Google may eventually turn app interstitials into some form of penalty. Now that appears to be what’s happening.

History shows when Google issues a recommendation it’s wise to listen, because usually an algorithm update is soon to follow. In line with this trend is today’s news, so take Google’s advice and “reconsider” app download interstitials if you happen to be using them.

Editorial Credit: Shutterstock


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Matt Southern

Lead News Writer at Search Engine Journal

Matt Southern has been the lead news writer at Search Engine Journal since 2013. With a degree in communications, Matt ... [Read full bio]

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