A lot of people use smartphones and mobile devices to search the internet. At this point, that isn’t news. We covered this point back in November, when we pointed out that 42% of internet traffic in the United States comes from a mobile device.
Because mobile devices have screens of radically different sizes, and their users have different interests, search engines treat mobile internet users differently from those that use a desktop. Not keeping this in mind can hurt your chances of dipping into this deep well of potential clients.
One thing to remember is that interstitial pop-ups and ads on your law firm’s website can wreak havoc on these smaller screens. This has lead to Google penalizing mobile sites that use them.
An interstitial pop-up is any page of content that appears over the rest of the website. They can be advertisements for products sold on the website but, especially in the legal world, are more likely to be email subscription pop-ups or live chat requests.
While they are almost always annoying, interstitial pop-ups are especially problematic on non-responsive websites when viewed on a mobile device with a small screen. The website would not adapt to the screen, leaving the button to close the pop-up out of sight.
Google Penalizes Intrusive Interstitials for Mobile Devices
Back in August, 2016, Google announced that it would start penalizing mobile sites for having interstitials that were “intrusive.” Google’s goal was to improve the experience of all of its mobile users by burying sites that used these pop-ups in the search rankings.
Practically, though, what was considered “intrusive” was complex. Interstitials that dealt with a site’s cookie usage or asked for age verification had to be exempt from the penalty. Those that required login details were also ignored by the penalty. And interstitial pop-ups that were hidden within a site – those that didn’t confront users immediately after going there from Google – were also going to be ignored. Even size matters: Interstitials that were small enough would not trigger the penalty.
Additionally, the penalty only impacts mobile web traffic. This allows you to continue running pop-ups ads on the desktop version of your law firm’s website.
This penalty went live in January, 2017.
Myers Freelance Legal Bloggers
Search engine updates like these happen all the time. Reacting to how they change the online marketing world can take hours of your day. Predicting how they’ll change the landscape takes expertise that only comes with years of watching the game unfold.
If you maintain your own legal blog without paying attention to the fluctuations and developments in online marketing, you run the risk of stepping on one of the many moving landmines in the marketing field. If this happens, your site could get penalized, ruining all of the time and effort you’ve put in to get as far as you have. In fact, a penalty can make your site even worse off than when it started.
The professional legal bloggers at Myers Freelance keep their ears to the ground on everything having to do with legal blogging. Through our writing talent and online marketing experience, you can rest assured that you’ll make it through the minefield to reap the benefits of a prominent law firm website. Contact us online to get started.