Did You Know Google Will Start Ranking Pages with Intrusive Ads Lower?

In the middle of last year, Google took steps to protect their search engine users. Besides their wishy-washy AMP initiative, Google has taken steps to remove malicious ads from front page results. Though that may be accomplished already with popular searches (e.g. Coca-Cola), it wasn’t uncommon for more esoteric searches to bring sketchy results. Most people don’t realize when malware infects their devices, so Google took it upon themselves (tragically lately so) to do something about it. Starting on January 10th, these changes will come into effect.

So what’re Google’s criteria for bad ads? Following are three major points of concern:

  1. Showing a popup that covers the main content, either immediately after the user navigates to a page from the search results, or while they are looking through the page.
  2. Displaying a standalone interstitial that the user has to dismiss before accessing the main content.
  3. Using a layout where the above-the-fold portion of the page appears similar to a standalone interstitial, but the original content has been inlined underneath the fold.

What won’t be affected? Of course, Play Store ads are considered by Google to be acceptable in screen space allocation (no surprise, there’s no mention of repetition being an issue). Google equates cookie prompts and age verification pop ups as being on this level. Most people are aware of the necessity of these two interstitials, but the equation with Play Store ads leaves a bad taste in the mouth.

If I were to predict the effect of these changes for AdClear users specifically, I’d say they’d be negligible.  Since most of our users are technologically proficient, I’d doubt their susceptibility to fall victim to these sites. Having said that, this will be a big help for countries in Asia, where ad campaigns are becoming an epidemic. We will see the effectiveness for ourselves going forward, but in any case, we will keep you updated when the changes go live.

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