Why pop-ups might hurt your Google ranking now

Pop-ups have always brought discussions about them.

Marketers love them, users don’t.

That’s the usual case, but it also dates back to the times when you had loads of new windows jumping out in front of you immediately when you got on the site.

People still have traumas from that. These days, they are a lot more sophisticated and are focused not to ruin user experience (well, most of them).

One thing is certain, they do work!

Me personally, I don’t mind seeing one on the site as long as it’s not bothering me reading the content. And I especially like them if they actually try to give me some value.

OK, so what’s all this about pop-ups hurting your google ranking? I’ll explain.

Starting as of today (January 10, 2017), Google rolled out second update to it’s mobile-friendly algorithm.

Why is that important for you to know?

Because this is the update that impacts pop-up forms.

As Google described it

Pages that show intrusive interstitials provide a poorer experience to users than other pages where content is immediately accessible. This can be problematic on mobile devices where screens are often smaller.

What would an intrusive pop-up look like?

Some examples that make the content less accessible, as per Google’s webmaster blog:

  • Showing a pop-up that covers the main content, either immediately after the user navigates to a page from the search results, or while they are looking through the page.
  • Displaying a standalone interstitial that the user has to dismiss before accessing the main content.
  • Using a layout where the above-the-fold portion of the page appears similar to a standalone interstitial, but the original content has been inlined underneath the fold.

Intrusive pop-up

What are mobile-friendly pop-ups?

These are the types of pop-ups which Google finds acceptable and will keep your mobile-friendly label. Notice that you can use a more subtle pop-up.

mobile-friendly pop-ups

What should you do now?

To sum it up, if you are using pop-ups which qualify as intrusive on mobile, turn them off.

That includes any timed pop-ups, welcome mats (like the one from SumoMe) and scroll based pop-ups on mobile which cover most of the screen.

Your next steps are:

  • turn off mobile pop-ups which fall into intrusive category
  • switch to small and subtle mobile pop-up
  • or use user intent to trigger the pop-up – in other words, set the new pop-up to appear after user taps button or text link, this should be OK with Google
  • check how mobile friendly your website is here

What do you think of this new mobile-friendly update? How is it going to impact your mobile list building strategy?

If you’ve found this article useful, share it so everyone can update their mobile pop-ups.