On September 1st, Google made an interesting statement regarding websites that showcase annoying lightboxes urging users to install the mobile app version of the site (ie. every news site). This has been teased for a while now in the SEO community, but seems the threat has finally come to light.
Google claims that top banners for an app install will not be penalized, only full page lightboxes are under attack. Apple and Chrome-supported smart banners (app install banners) should be safe from this update, which will go live on November 1st, 2015. Utilizing the Google Mobile Friendly Test can determine if a site should update it’s mobile browser pop-up.
It's all about the experience!
Google values 2 things above all: people clicking on accurate AdWords ads and websites providing a great user experience. Ruining the mobile user experience for an app install goes against both of Google’s key values so this update is no surprise for most. The interesting part about this update is that Google promises that “this update will not effect other interstitials.” Thus, Google is only targeting app install pop-ups, not poorly designed lightboxes that we often see in mobile search (think those annoying boxes with no obvious “X”).
Mobile = Growth
This update is another key example of the need to get on the mobile-friendly train to ensure your organic search presence is prominent both on desktop and mobile. With smart phones becoming the first interaction for most brands, ensuring users can quickly find the information they seek on your website is key to growing your online conversions.
Finally, Google got a new logo! What do you think? Share your comments below.