Photo via Anthony Ryan/Flickr (CC-BY-SA)
On Tuesday, Google made an announcement that is sure to thrill those who still brave the web without an ad blocker: The search giant is planning to start punishing sites that host intrusive and annoying advertisements.
Google will focus its ire on sites that use interstitials—the modern take on pop ups that take over the entire page, blocking out the content you're trying to view and leaving you little choice but to stare at them and often accidentally click on them.
According to Google, sites that make use of interstitials that immediately intrude on the browsing experience or have to be dismissed before accessing content.Not all forms of the interstitials will be dinged in Google's search algorithm. Ones designed to convey information like cookie usage or privacy policies, login dialogs for things like paywalls, and banners that don't take over the page and can be dismissed are all acceptable under Google's guidelines.
While the changes won't take effect immediately—Google plans to start implementing the punishment starting January 10, 2017—it should encourage sites to start making changes at the risk of being cut off in search results when the axe does drop.
Google also announced a more immediate change: It will be doing away with the mobile-friendly label it placed alongside search results that were optimized for mobile. While it will still use mobile-friendly criteria in its rankings, results will no longer carry the distinct marker as the vast majority of the web—85 percent, according to Google's research—is now optimized for mobile devices.