Tom Williams runs through this week’s SEO news, including new mobile penalties, confirmation Google is still sending out manual actions post-Penguin, and more.

Intrusive Interstitials Penalty Rolls Out

Having released a statement forewarning its arrival back in August 2016, Google confirmed the roll out of the intrusive interstitials penalty on 10 January. The penalty is designed to punish websites that include invasive pop-ups directly on landing pages accessed from the SERPs on mobile, which can affect user experience.

Any interstitial ads that appear further down the user journey, however, will not result in penalties. Websites that include pop-ups that cover main content, or work as standalone interstitials, may be penalised. Websites with pop-ups that appear for genuine reasons other than advertising purposes, such as providing or requesting information, will not be penalised. Banners that use a “reasonable amount of screen space” (i.e. they do not cover the main content area) will also be exempt from the penalty according to Google.

Manual Actions for Unnatural Links Are Still Being Sent After Penguin Update

Since the launch of real-time Penguin in September 2016, some users have questioned whether Google is still sending out manual actions for unnatural links. In a Google Webmaster Office Hours, Google confirmed that manual actions are in fact still being sent, and have never been stopped.

Yes, of course, it still happens, yes. The webspam team is still active and taking action on unnatural links on both directions, so that’s not something we’ve stopped doing since Penguin.

This confirmed that unnatural inbound and outbound links are still receiving manual actions.

Sitemap Files Not Harmed By Dirty Sitemap URLs

In response to a Twitter query on 5 January, Google’s Webmaster Trends Analyst John Mueller confirmed that all sites are evaluated on a per URL basis. The query came from one Twitter user who questioned whether 300, 400 and 500 pages in XML sitemaps affected Google’s trust in the sitemap file as a whole. It was subsequently confirmed that they did not.

Mobile Autosuggest Receives New ‘Trending’ Feature

A new autosuggest feature is being tested in mobile SERPs. The ‘Trending’ feature provides suggestions based on trending news, which when clicked will then take you to a regular SERP showing relevant news stories for that search. The feature has been spotted on iOS for both Chrome and Safari.

How To Earn Benefits From Comment Marketing

The latest Whiteboard Friday details how comment marketing can be beneficial for your company, and why.

More SEO News and Advice

Read last week’s SEO News Roundup:Google Confirms It Does Not Manually Control Traffic Patterns

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About the author:

Tom joined ClickThrough in 2011. Since then, he has developed an expertise in the technical side of search engine optimisation. He’s Google Analytics-qualified, and in his current role as digital and technical Executive, carries out monthly SEO activities and provides technical consultancy for several of the company’s largest accounts.