Weekly SEO Recap: app interstitials, snippets & knowledge panel

Joost's weekly SEO recapNext to Google getting a new logo, there was also actual news this week. Like… Google increased the height of its search box. Yes, really. Shocking, right? There’s more:

Do you have app interstitials? Drop them.

If you run a site that has an app interstitial, a popup asking the user to install your iPhone / Android app before leading them to the page they wanted to get to: stop it. The users never liked it, even though it might have worked, but Google has now decided it’s had enough. Google has even been kind enough to give us a cut-off date: November 1. Of course, none of this should come as a surprise, I wrote about it on June 5, when Googlers had already mentioned this would happen.

This app interstitial “penalty” also is just a continuation and an enhancement of what we referred to as “Mobilegeddon” a couple of months ago. I fully expect Google to become stricter and stricter in what it accepts in terms of User eXperience. It’s nice to see them announce changes like this though! Google says it doesn’t apply to cookie warnings and other popups, so no need to worry about those just yet.

Rich snippets don’t change your ranking

Rich snippets (explained here if you don’t know what they are) have become a prime weapon in the SEO’s arsenal over the years to improve the number of clicks you get from the search results. Recently, John Mueller of Google has said that they don’t impact your rankings. That’s not a reason to stop using them, their goal has always been to increase the number of people clicking on your result more than increasing the ranking, but it’s good to know.

Google adds quotes to knowledge panels

If you search for JRR Tolkien, the author of the famous Lord of the Rings novels, you’ll see some of the author’s quotes in the knowledge panel on the right. These quotes are new, showing one more case of Google disrupting an entire set of websites. This is yet another warning: your website has to add serious value if you want to get Google traffic. Value that Google cannot easily replicate. And even when you do add serious value, like Wikipedia, Google might take away some of that traffic.

If you want to learn more about knowledge panels in search results and don’t shy away from reading somewhat more technical posts, this post by Bill Slawski might be a good starting point. Bill analyzes tons of patents by Google (and a few others) on his blog all the time, leading to some very interesting insights in the world of SEO.

That’s it for this week, see you next week!

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This post first appeared as Weekly SEO Recap: app interstitials, snippets & knowledge panel on Yoast. Whoopity Doo!