Google: We Will Treat Religious Interstitials As Legal Or Policy Interstitials

Dec 20, 2016 • 7:46 am | comments (0) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Google Search Engine Optimization
 

As you all know, on January 10, 2017 the Google mobile intrusive interstitial penalty is coming and as we explained, this has some folks concerned due to religious obligations.

John Mueller in Google hangout from late last week talked about the topic at the 39:40 mark and said around the 42 minute mark that Google would treat religious interstitials like they would legal or policy interstitials - so they should not get penalized.

John said, "we talked with that the team that is doing this, specifically with regards to to this kind of situation and we would for the most part we will treat these type of in interstitial the same as we would any other kind of legal or kind of policy interstitial. So this wouldn't be seen as an ad interstitial."

Here is the video embed:

Here is the full transcript:

Google announced that starting January 10th, intrusive interstitials may not ranked highly on mobile and will be subject to ranking penalties. They listed as exceptions at specific cases legal obligations, cookie, age verification.

My site closes every weekend for the Shabbat using modal. We took this action exclusively due to good faith religious observation. Is there no way shape or form a marketing thing, so it's not a marketing had thing, will will this cause any problems?

So what what i would recommend in a case like this is to return a 503 HTTP result code, which tells us that your site is not available at the moment and that we should try it again later.

Users can still see than the normal interstitial or what whatever your showing in a case like this. But search engines will recognize that the content that you show there is not what you want to have reflected with your site. That is not the content that you want to have indexed, and we'll try again later. And you can specify how much later with the header as well, so you could say like try again in one hour, or try again in 24 hours and we'll try to follow that.

That's something where I think the primary effect of a site not doing that would be within search itself and that we would index the content of this interstitial instead of your normal website content. So it's from from my point of view it's not so much a matter of us recognizing this as an interstitial and saying oh you're showing an interstitial. But rather us recognizing this as your pages content and indexing your your content like that, instead of the content that you actually have.

So the 503 result code covers both of those cases and make sure that we don't index that content and that we wouldn't use that as a basis for recognizing if this is an intrusive interstitial or not.

Additionally, we talked with that the team that is doing this, specifically with regards to to this kind of situation and we would for the most part we will treat these type of in interstitial the same as we would any other kind of legal or kind of policy interstitial. So this wouldn't be seen as an ad interstitial.

So those who have these shabbat interstitials should not have to worry too much but Google does recommend you serve a 503 status code to be safe. Safe with the interstitial penalty and safe with Google indexing the wrong content.

Forum discussion at Google Webmaster Help.

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