Google recently announced (Aug 23, 2016) that it will be punishing sites that have annoying popups or interstitials on mobile after January 10, 2017.
This is in an effort to improve the mobile search experience.
The goal of Google Search is to help users quickly find the best answers to their questions, regardless of the device they’re using.
I totally get it. As so many sites have started to abuse popups with spammy content, mobile users (due to the small size screen) have become frustrated that they can’t easily access the content that they were expecting from the search result.
So if you’re still using annoying popups after January 10, 2017 that make the content less accessible to the end user, Google may not rank your site as highly.
Which popups are bad?
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- Showing a popup 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. Interstitials are web pages displayed before or after an expected content page, often to display advertisements or confirm the user’s age – prior to showing age-restricted material.
- 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.
Which popups are good?
- Interstitials that appear to be in response to a legal obligation, such as for cookie usage or for age verification.
- Login dialogs on sites where content is not publicly indexable.
- Banners that use a reasonable amount of screen space and are easily dismissible.
Do you currently use a popup? If so, do not panic!!! This change is specific to mobile devices and it doesn’t take effect until January 10, 2017.
Google is really doing this change to target spammers, not people like you or I who are improving conversions in a nice non-intrusive way.
When we get closer to the January date, I’ll post a reminder blog post and some great popup options for you. For now, this is just letting you know what’s coming down the pike.