In recent days, Google has signaled that in the near future they will penalize mobile pop-ups. This is a big deal if you are currently using pop-ups on your mobile website and you are concerned with your ranking via mobile search queries.
Of course, Google hasn’t told us exactly how they will be integrating this new element into their mobile SERP ranking algorithm. However, there are some clues that we can draw from their announcement and what we know about Google’s overall search paradigm.
The announcement by Google clearly states that if a pop-up or interstitial makes content accessibility on mobile an issue, the web page will be penalized. Google gives specific examples including:
- Pop-ups that cover the majority of the reading area or makes viewing the content difficult.
- Displaying a full page interstitial that must receive an interaction before displaying content.
Google also highlighted some examples of pop-ups that would not be penalized. These examples include:
- Elements that are required for legal verification.
- Login dialog boxes to access content on private web pages.
- Pop-ups that take up a reasonable amount of space, do not hinder user experience, and are easy to dismiss.
This move by Google should not be a surprise. After all, they are in the business of delivering high-quality content to their customers. No doubt, obnoxious pop-ups deter from a quality user experience in most cases.
Should you continue to use pop-ups?
That depends on what you are using them for. If you are using pop-ups that are within the bounds of what Google has said is acceptable for mobile usage, then you are in the clear.
If you are using pop-ups as a tool to generate subscribers or opt-in to a sales funnel, I do not recommend using mobile pop-ups. In my opinion, Google has indicated that this is a red flag, which will more than likely hurt your mobile search rankings.
What about using pop-ups on desktop?
In my opinion, pop-ups can be an effective tool when used wisely to add to user experience. The flippant use of pop-ups will negatively impact a website visitor’s experience with your brand.
There are many digital marketers who advocate the benefits of pop-ups, while others loathe the practice. Do your research and determine if leveraging this marketing tactic is right for your brand or not. If you are using data to help you make marketing decisions, you will quickly know if it is an effective strategy or not.
Mobile is a big deal.
This move by Google further signifies that Google is serious about penalizing websites that do not provide a quality mobile experience. Regardless of what Google says, knowing that more people are searching on mobile devices than on desktops, why wouldn’t a brand want to make sure that they have a quality mobile presence?
Google is going to continue to crack down on websites that are not mobile-friendly. This is a big deal! If your site does not provide mobile visitors with a quality website experience, give our team a call to discuss how to remedy this issue.