Google May Expand App Install Interstitial Penalty To Sneaky & Deceptive Alternatives

Mar 9, 2016 • 8:24 am | comments (3) by | Filed Under Google Search Engine Optimization

Google Penalty

In November 2015, Google launched their App Install Interstitial Penalty which targeted a very specific and niche interstitial add. It was/is easy to get around technically and webmasters have been doing it.

One webmaster questioned John Mueller of Google about it in a Google+ hangout yesterday at the 49:05 mark saying:

I had a specific question that just popped up when I was browsing earlier this week. So Google has it's no splash screen on mobile for downloading the app policy. When I browse they take me to a splash screen that's not really a splash screen the website move down so you see the splash screen that would be blocking first click free but in fact that you click on continue to the site is just scroll down. Is this ok or something that can be implemented more widely something or something that Google is ignoring? Because they're they're doing essentially a splash screen that takes up the full screen but it's on the same.

John basically said they are looking into taking manual actions on these and expanding their algorithm to detect and penalize these. John responded:

Yeah. We we've looked into a number of these and will probably try to have to figure out figure something out on how to react appropriately to issues like that. So it's essentially trying to ... so I don't know specifically what Yelp is doing. But it's essentially something where people are trying to get around our policies, where we say well we don't want you to run a app install interstitial and they tweak it so that it technically it's not really an interstitial but actually from a user interface kind of point of view it does look a lot like app interstitial.

So those are the type of things we're we're considering maybe taking manual action and saying well we need to flag this as an interstitial even if it isn't flag from our algorithms. But I think that the teams are definitely aware of these kind of situations and they're trying to figure out how best to respond to that. So I definitely wouldn't use something like this as an example of something that you should copy as well. Because just because one person is kind of getting away with doing something sneaky doesn't mean that it's something that you should copy as well. Especially when you recognize that they're trying trying to sneak their way past this this policy.

So don't play this game.

Here is the video embed:

Hat tip to +GlennGabe for also spotting this.

Forum discussion at Google+.

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