Not much news over the past seven days but some of the news is pretty big.
Here’s what happened this week in SEO.
Google Rolled out the Mobile Interstitials Penalty This Week
This week, Google officially confirmed that it’s rolling out the mobile interstitials penalty. The penalty will be assessed against sites that blast annoying popups when people land there directly from the search engine results pages (SERPs).
The word about the rollout comes to us from both John Mueller and Gary Illyes.
Keep in mind, though, that the penalty does not impact sites that show popups when visitors arrive there via any channel besides Google. In other words, if your site only shows popups to people who click on a link within your site, then you won’t have to worry about a penalty.
However, if you have a page that ranks in the top 10 and people see a popup when they click on it, you can expect that it won’t rank in the top 10 for much longer.
Google also said that certain types of popups won’t trigger a penalty. Those popups include:
- Notices that appear to be in response to a legal obligation
- Login dialogs
- Small banners that don’t cover the main content
The Mobile Interstitial Penalty Does Hurt
Speaking of that mobile interstitial penalty, it is causing some pain to site owners.
On Twitter, Glenn Gabe posted some examples of sites that have lost 10 or more spots since the rollout. He also pointed out that he’s pretty sure the penalty isn’t finished rolling out yet because there are plenty of offending sites that don’t seem to be affected.
If you have interstitial pop-ups that could trigger the penalty, now is the time to get rid of them.
Google: Dirty Sitemap URLs Won’t Hurt Your Sitemap File
If you’ve been doing this SEO thing for any length of time, you probably use a sitemap file. That file just makes it easier for Google to index your pages.
Sometimes, sitemap files end up with bad URLs. That’s because there’s a disconnect between the sitemap file and the actual contents of the website.
In the past, some webmasters have thought that sitemaps with a few bad URLs might cause Google to no longer “trust” the file. That’s simply not the case.
This week on Twitter, John Mueller fielded a question about whether the Big G loses confidence in sitemaps when there are redirects or bad URLs.
Here’s how he responded: “No. We evaluate on a per-URL basis — if we can use a URL from a sitemap file, we’ll do that. If not, we’ll move on to the next URL.”
@agking No. We evaluate on a per-URL basis — if we can use a URL from a sitemap file, we'll do that. If not, we'll move on to the next URL.
— John ☆.o(≧▽≦)o.☆ (@JohnMu) January 5, 2017
Keep in mind, though, that Bing might very well treat sitemaps with dirty links differently.