Google Now Punishing Pop-Ups in Mobile Search Results, Don’t Get Penalized!

Google recently announced their intention to punish websites displayed on mobile devices that make use of intrusive pop-ups or interstitials.  It’s an effort to improve the mobile web browsing experience — that dude is angry! — since mobile search has eclipsed desktop search.

From the Google notification:

“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. To improve the mobile search experience, after January 10, 2017, pages where content is not easily accessible to a user on the transition from the mobile search results may not rank as highly.

Here are some examples of techniques that make content less accessible to a user:

  • 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 [pop-up] 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 [is displayed] underneath the fold.”


However, there are some types of pop-ups that Google will continue to permit.  Those intended for age verification, banners that use a reasonable amount of screen space and are easily dismissible, and those that facilitate logins to display content for members, such as private content behind a paywall.

google-ok-pop-upsSo what does all of this mean?  If you have a pop-up as a call-to-action perhaps to gain subscribers to your blog or other content, you’ll need to change the way you present the sign-up form.  One way would be to present the form “embedded” in the page instead of as a pop-up.  Another would be to use a banner that, as in the right-most example above, uses a “reasonable amount of screen space” instead of covering the entire page.

All of this happened on January 10th, so be sure you’ve made the necessary changes to your website.  One more thing, Google is dropping the “Mobile Friendly” label in mobile search results because their data shows that greater than 85-percent of all websites are now “mobile friendly”.

Illustrations courtesy of Google.



Recent Posts