I just came across this interesting post from Barry Schwartz at Search Engine Roundtable, titled Google Says Intrusive Interstitials Don’t Impact Indexing But Can Impact Ranking (September 17, 2021):
Google’s John Mueller said on Twitter that mobile intrusive interstitial elements won’t generally impact indexing but it can have a ranking impact. This goes back to the old Google Intrusive Interstitials Mobile penalty from 2016/2017.
John said “the intrusive interstitial element has a ranking effect, it wouldn’t affect indexing.”
This is in response to Lily Ray asking if Google would not index something because it may have triggered the mobile interstitial penalty? The answer was no. Here are those tweets:
Many pages using this layout are not being indexed (I assume due to poor quality)
The pop-up shows in Page Speed Insights tool but not in Mobile-Friendly test.
Is there any way to know for sure how Google sees them/if the pages are affected by the mobile interstitial penalty?
— Lily Ray 😏 (@lilyraynyc) August 17, 2021
The intrusive interstitial element has a ranking effect, it wouldn’t affect indexing. I’d check if the content is actually rendered in HTML or it’s perhaps otherwise technically hard to reach.
— 🧀 John 🧀 (@JohnMu) August 17, 2021
The takeaway message for me is that Google is still telling us not to use interstitials on our web pages.
But how do we reconcile this with the ubiquitous use of interstitial advertisements by the Auto AdSense option for publishers that Google has been pushing for the past couple of years or so? Not only does Auto AdSense make an embarrassing mess of most web pages but now once again we are told not to do what AdSense is doing.
It’s even worse, when you think about it.
Google: Use Auto AdSense. Yes it’s ugly buy you’ll make more money, our advertisers will make more money, and Google will make more money.
Publishers: But what about those interstitials?
Google: Yes we will place those on your web pages, and not only are they annoying but we may quite possibly punish you in Google search ranking for having them on your pages. But don’t worry about that. Just focus on the fact that we;ll all make more money in advertising revenue.
Whatever happened to “Do No Evil”?