Some users find it annoying to visit a website on a mobile device and be presented with a pop-up window, preventing them from easily viewing the desired content. Turns out, Google agrees.
Pop-up ads, otherwise known as interstitials, are a form of interruption marketing. They are frequently used to capture email addresses, suggest related content or for legal obligations, such as age verification or accepting cookies.
Google Takes a Stand Against Interstitials
The trouble with these pop-ups is that they make it harder for users to reach the content they are interested in. In the interest of helping users find their desired content, Google recently announced that starting in January 2017 it will give priority in search results to pages without these pop-ups in place, pushing down rankings for pages using them.
Some Interstitials Are Exempt
There are, of course, some exceptions to this new rule. Websites using pop-ups to fulfill a legal obligation, private password-protected content login pages, and small banners such as app install banners, will be in the clear when used responsibly.
Time To Drop the Pop-Up?
Knowing there are literally hundreds of different signals making up the Google search algorithm, we also know this is only one factor when it comes to search engine optimization strategy. Even a web page with the “bad” pop-ups in place could still rank highly – if it has great, relevant content in place.
But Google algorithm aside, if your pop-up doesn’t fit into one of these “exempt” categories, it might be time to weight the pros and cons of keeping it anyway. Might your website be annoying more people than it’s worth – and eventually going to be taking a hit in the search engine results too?