Do Interstitial Ads affect SEO? Is Google favoring the biggies?

- - SEO

We’ve all come across it. You click on a very reputed site’s link from Google results and while at the site, before the actual content the ad pops up (actually fills up) and you got to click some tiny “x” somewhere there to move further ahead that it almost becomes a mini game in itself.

So, there are technically two parts to the whole process soon after the click. One – the game (err.. the Ad) and then the clicking part which takes you to the actual content.

Typically, from examples I’ve seen, the Ad is pulled from a unique URL, which comes in between the actual Google result and the final destination.

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I’m not sure if this can be compared to cloaking – which is a complete no-no in Google’s terms. They are ads for sure, but in one way, they’re poor user experiences. People don’t like any kind of “obstruction” between Google results and the content.

In my opinion, with all the anti-spam and low-quality website beating going on, Google should not allow such websites or may be grade such websites lower to websites with actual, user friendly, quality content.

Apparently, some websites (of course, with authority and reputation) can easily pull it off and manage to get a first page rank even.

Take for example, Forbes.com who ranks number one on Google for the search term “How to make money online?” (As of 25th April, 2012).

how to make money online   Google Search

They have a very good reputation, authority and backlink data to support (I didn’t even check it honestly, being Forbes) but clicking on the link takes me immediately to (http://www.forbes.com/fdc/welcome_mjx.shtml), which triggers a 20 second interstitial ad.

I’m not trying to say that they shouldn’t be on the first spot – obviously they deserve it. But I wonder what if interstitial ads were taken into consideration here?

Would Google think that a 20 second auto-trigger ad would destroy the user experience?

Would an average (actually, below average) internet user blame it on Google for sending him to a website that makes him forcibly wait for 20 seconds before getting him the results?

20 seconds sounds like half an hour for me. Its clearly poor user experience. But Forbes has a huge backlink and authority data to its credit. So, would Google excuse it?

Wait, that’s too many questions to ask I guess.

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