Back in 2015 Google made some drastic changes to mobile ranking signals. This is looking to be the second half of the change with some specific change points that Google released in their announcements.
During their announcement, they had this to say:
“Getting good, relevant answers when you search shouldn’t depend on what device you’re using. You should get the best answer possible, whether you’re on a phone, desktop or tablet. Last year, we started using mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal on mobile searches. Today we’re announcing that beginning in May, we’ll start rolling out an update to mobile search results that increases the effect of the ranking signal to help our users find even more pages that are relevant and mobile-friendly.
If you’ve already made your site mobile-friendly, you will not be impacted by this update. If you need support with your mobile-friendly site, we recommend checking out the Mobile-Friendly Test and the Webmaster Mobile Guide, both of which provide guidance on how to improve your mobile site. And remember, the intent of the search query is still a very strong signal — so even if a page with high quality content is not mobile-friendly, it could still rank well if it has great, relevant content.”
But remember, from the Mobilegeddon of 2015 to this announcement, it hasn’t just been dead space from Google on the topic of mobile friendly websites.
One of which, was announced not too long ago. Google stated that they don’t place favor on websites that use “whole page banners”. Usually, these come in the form of “download our app here” banners. Here’s what they look like:
Google has mentioned that they highly prefer mobile-friendly banners like that which Amazon displays on their mobile site.
What Google said about these “interstitials” is this:
“Instead of full page interstitials, we recommend that webmasters use more user-friendly formats such as app install banners…We hope that this change will make it easier for searchers to see the content of the pages they are looking for.”
They also mention that they don’t like sneaky attempts to get around the full page banner punishments.
Yelp continues to use this method as they specifically don’t like Google position on this issue. They want to highlight their mobile app with as powerful a message as they possibly can and feel like Google may be limiting their ability to do this.
And as far as the public faces of Google are concerned, employees like John Mueller say they will likely penalize websites for putting up banners like this.
We’ll keep tabs on the continued slow roll-out of these changes, but in the meantime we recommend you visit this page and type in your website URL here to get it tested by Google themselves to mobile-friendliness.