Google’s John Mueller said in last week’s Google Webmaster Central office hours hangout that January’s interstitial penalty for mobile will not include exit intent interstitials.
If you don’t know what exit-intent popups/interstitials are, I am sure you have seen them around the web. An exit intent interstitial happens whenever a user goes to a website and moves their mouse to close out the tab when all of a sudden a pop up appears trying to get you the user to stay on the website. These interstitials are great for conversions and that really bugged me when they announced this penalty that is coming in January as I thought those would be included. Thankfully, Mueller did say that they would be exempt.
Here is what Mueller said in the video:
So at the moment, those wouldn’t count. What we are looking for is really interstitials that show up on the interaction between the search click and going to the page and seeing the content. So that’s kind of the place we are looking for those intersititals. What you do afterwards, like if someone clicks on stuff within your website, or closes the tab or something like that, then that’s kind of between you and the user.
So, “at the moment” the pop up interstitials are safe, but that doesn’t mean they could change their mind between now and January.
Here is the video from the hangout: