Web pages displayed before or after an expected content page, often used for promotions or ads.


Interstitials are essentially full-page ads or notices that appear before or after the expected content page, but can also show up during the navigation of a site. They are like digital roadblocks, popping up to grab your attention for a moment before letting you proceed to your intended content. They can be used for advertisements, promoting subscriptions, age verifications, or any crucial announcements. While they are a powerful tool for marketers to convey messages, if not used wisely, they can negatively impact a user’s experience and a site's search ranking.

Did you know?
Google started penalizing mobile pages with intrusive interstitials in 2017 to improve the mobile browsing experience.

Usage and Context

Interstitials are relevant in SEO because they directly impact user experience and can affect a website's ranking on search engines, especially on mobile devices. Google, for instance, may penalize websites that use intrusive interstitials by lowering their ranking. However, when used correctly and in moderation, they can be an effective tool for converting visitors or informing them about important updates without severely impacting user experience. Common scenarios include age verification prompts, subscription sign-ups, or special offer advertisements.


  1. Are all interstitials bad for SEO?

    • Not all interstitials are bad. Google distinguishes between intrusive interstitials that harm the user experience and those used responsibly, like for age verifications or cookie usage consents.
  2. Can interstitials be mobile-friendly?

    • Yes, interstitials can be designed to be mobile-friendly by ensuring they are easily dismissible and do not cover the entire screen on mobile devices.
  3. Do interstitial penalties affect desktop sites?

    • As of my last update, Google’s penalties for intrusive interstitials primarily target mobile pages, but it's best practice to keep user experience unobstructed on desktop versions too.
  4. How can I use interstitials without hurting my SEO?

    • Use them sparingly, ensure they are easily dismissible, avoid covering significant amounts of content, and employ them in ways that don't disrupt the user’s journey.
  5. Are there alternatives to interstitials?

    • Yes, alternatives include using less intrusive banners at the top or bottom of a page, slide-in messages, or implementing timed pop-ups that do not immediately obscure content.

Tips and Recommendations

  1. Prioritize User Experience: Design your interstitials to be as unobtrusive and user-friendly as possible to minimize negative impacts on your site’s SEO.
  2. Be Strategic: Use interstitials for important messages or conversions, but avoid overloading your site's visitors with them.
  3. Test Your Interstitials: Regularly test the impact of your interstitials on your traffic and conversion rates to ensure they are effective and not harmful.
  4. Monitor Guidelines and Penalties: Keep up-to-date with search engine guidelines and penalties related to the use of interstitials to avoid unexpected drops in ranking.
  5. Consider Context and Timing: Be strategic about when and where you present interstitials to minimize disruption and ensure relevance to the user's current engagement.


While interstitials offer a powerful way to engage visitors and convey important messages or promotions, it’s crucial to use them judiciously to avoid hindering the user experience and harming your website’s SEO performance. By following best practices and focusing on the user's journey, you can effectively leverage interstitials to achieve your business goals without compromising on site usability or search rankings.

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