Google will downplay mobile websites with intrusive pop-ups

'Click to continue' sites will have to mend their ways to rank highly in your search results.

It's bad enough when you deal with third-party pop-up ads, but it's that much worse when the site itself shows pop-ups. Do you really want to subscribe to that newsletter before you've even read a single word on the page? Google wants to put a stop to this. As of January 10th, 2017, its mobile search results will downplay sites with "intrusive" interstitials and pop-ups. It'll accept content that asks for necessary info or takes up a "reasonable" amount of space (such as the app install banners in Android or iOS), but "click to continue" pop-ups and first-party sales pitches won't curry Google's favor.

Google is quick to note that a high-quality site might still rank well even with those irksome pop-ups, so this isn't a death knell for the format. However, it might persuade some sites to tone down their in-your-face marketing and focus on the content you came to see. Don't be surprised if a page that drives you bonkers now is much less annoying in the months ahead.