On June 1st, 2017, Google announced that they would be cracking down on websites that used intrusive ads. The post was titled “Building a better web for everyone, ” and it’s clear that removing sites with intrusive ads will make the browsing experience more enjoyable.
It’s not uncommon to go onto a website to only be greeted with a screen filling popup that you can’t close. You watch as the time ticks down and as soon as it disappears you get a ‘welcome mat’ type popup asking you to subscribe to their email list.
The whole experience is painful, and it’s difficult to even get to the content that you wanted to read. Most of the time you probably just click back.
That’s what Google wants to reduce. They noticed that too many people were coming back to their searches, unhappy with the first result that they had clicked.
Google lives and dies by the quality of search results that they show to their customers. They know that if the results are poor consumers will change to a different search engine.
A better ad experience
Google doesn’t want to stop you earning money. In fact, they’d rather you use their Adsense ads. What they want to do is create a better user experience.
The goal is to encourage webmaster to stop using ads that interrupt the user and prevent them from reading the content that they went to the site to see.
Sridhar Ramaswamy, the SVP of Ads & Commerce said that they wanted to reduce the incentive for users to install ad blocking plugins. He went on to say that ad blocking takes “a big toll on the content creators, journalists, web developers, and videographers who depend on ads to fund their content creation.”
It seems clear that Google is going to introduce this into their new standards and websites in violation will be penalized. It’s likely that this will impact on search rankings.
However, it’s evident that they’ll be introducing this to users of Google Chrome. The browser will stop showing ads on any site which is not compliant with the ‘Better Ads Standards’ by early 2018.
What are ‘bad ads’?
A lot of SEO’s have been wondering what Googles intrusive ads are clarified as. Google recently outlined what constitutes a bad ad from its surveys and data from ‘The Coalition for Better Ads’:
- This seems to suggest any ads that physically prevent you from accessing the content, including countdown ads. However, it could be extended to all popups that appear on loading the site.
- Any ad that makes it difficult for the user to read the content is, of course, a bad ad. This means excessive animation or loud audio that plays automatically.
- Google has described these as “high-density displays” and refer to pages where ads can make the content visually hard to consume and disrupt load times.
It’s clear that Google means business. They have even mentioned that they will refuse to show their Adsense ads if they believe they impact on the user experience.
Although some of these rulings won’t come into place until early 2018, it’s not clear if some factors already exist in the algorithm. It’s better to adapt early and play it safe.