You know them, you love them, and yes, you hate them.
Pop-ups! They are the best friend of the content market with an average conversion rate of 11.09%.
But the use of pop-ups is also dangerous since Google announced that it will devalue websites with intrusive pop-up ads in 2018.
So, this article aims to remove some of the insecurities surrounding pop-ups and SEO.
Here are seven tips for using pop-ups without harming your SEO.
1. Understand Which Interstitials Are No-Goes
Google’s mobile interstitial punishment targets particularly intrusive interstitials.
Note that “interstitial” is a broad term that can be applied to most pop-ups, overlays, and modals, but not all interstitials are considered equally intrusive.
As a general rule of thumb, if your interstitials are spammy, difficult to dismiss, or reduce your user experience, your mobile site may be devalued.
And because Google’s indexing is now mobile for the first time, this can hurt your position in the SERPs more than you realize.
The following are some examples of interstitials that make your content less accessible:
You should also avoid ads that Google is known to dislike and have penalized in the past, including:
In addition, Google’s John Mueller confirmed that interstitials triggered by output intent are still allowed.
However, be careful not to rely too much on these. Annoying your visitors is never a good idea.
2. Continue Using Non-Intrusive Interstitials
Google does not penalize intrusive interstitials.
These include everything you are required by law to display to restrict content or keep your users informed, such as age verification terms and cookie notifications.
Other pop-ups, such as banner ads, slide-ins, inlines, and tabs that occupy a reasonable portion of the screen (15% or less are recommended) are also OK, as long as they are easy to dismiss.
If you are not sure whether your interstitials are considered intrusive, I recommend avoiding full screen overlays, welcome mats and ad modes.
Whenever possible, try switching to top banners and slide-in boxes, which will allow users to keep an eye on your content and not disturb the UX too much.
3. Switch To Timed Pop-ups
If you absolutely must continue to use pop-ups and overlays, you can try redesigning them to be as unobtrusive as possible.
One of the biggest things you can change is the timing of your interstitials.
For example, instead of showing a pop-up as soon as a user lands on your page, time your pop-up for when users finish your blog post.
You can also limit how long pop-ups are displayed – a pop-up that automatically closes after three seconds of user action is better than one that never closes on its own.
Of course, the challenge with this kind of interstitial is that timed pop-ups are only as effective as your content.
If your content is not compelling enough to keep users in place, click through your pages and read your content, then consider investing in your content marketing before you start linking it to ads.
4. Watch Out For “Gray Area” Interstitials
Some interstitials affected by the Google Interstitial Penalty may surprise you.
For example, Mueller confirmed that language selection pop-ups can be devalued on international sites because “yes, those are pop-ups / interstitials as well.”
Carefully monitor your page performance when using these or other “gray area” interstitials, such as sticky sidebars, related posts, share buttons, live chat boxes, and coupon pop-ups.
While I do not expect this to negatively impact SEO, it is better to be safe than sorry.
5. Use Permitted (But Intrusive) Pop-ups Cautiously
Some ads are permanently interrupted but will not be penalized.
These “gray area” pop-ups are allowed, but be warned that Google may destroy them in the future (they are certainly moving in that direction):
Fair warning if you decide to use these interstitials: They may be punished at some point in the (near) future, although nothing in the new algorithm update counts these interstitials.
The only three constants in this world are death, taxes, and Google is making changes for better UX.
6. You Can Still Use Intrusive Ads On Desktop
Some websites have found a band-aid solution to interstitial punishment, which is to hide pop-ups on mobile devices and continue to use them exclusively for desktop visitors.
Many pop-up plugins include smart targeting options that allow you to display only your ads on specific platforms.
Some website platforms like Wix also allow you to hide potentially intrusive pop-ups on any mobile device.
Again, however, pop-ups that are intrusive and reduce your UX may be penalized under a future update.
I recommend you find more permanent solutions than temporarily hiding your mobile pop-ups.
7. Restrict Pop-ups To Sources Other Than Google Organic Search
Another “gray area” that you can take advantage of is just putting pop-ups in front of visitors that move between page pages or finding your website through other sources like Google organic search results.
According to Mueller, these will not be affected by the new algorithm update:
“What we’re looking for is really interstitials that open up on the interaction between the search click and go through the page and see the content. So, that’s kind of the place where we’re looking for those interstitials.
What you then do, like when someone clicks on things on your website or closes the tab or something like that, then that’s kind of between you and the user.
Of course, when organic search drives a lot of your traffic and it works to generate leads, you do not feel pressured to switch.
Keep in mind that the new interstitial penalty is just a signal between hundreds, and an interstitial ad or two will not undermine a website that is otherwise full of useful content.
So, here we are, years later, websites still use pop-ups on mobile and rank well!
Even if this news is for you, you can breathe a sigh of relief – you are probably not deeply affected by this update.
But if you think Google’s mobile interstitials hit your site, check out this article on how to recover.
Excellent image: McLittle Stock / Shutterstock
Does mobile first indexing mean that Google will use the mobile version of your website for indexing and ranking?
Mobile-first indexing means that Google mainly uses the mobile version of the content for indexing and ranking. Historically, the index mainly used the desktop version of the content of a page when evaluating the relevance of a page to a user’s query.
Is my site mobile-first indexing? First things first: There is no separate index for mobile In 2018, Google announced that with mobile-first indexing, the URL of the mobile-friendly version of your site will be indexed. If your website has separate mobile and desktop URLs, Google will display the mobile URL for mobile users and the desktop URL for desktop users.
What type of indexing does Google use?
Searching through individual pages for keywords and topics would be a very slow process for search engines to identify relevant information. Instead, search engines (including Google) use a reverse index, also known as a reverse index.
What triggers pop-up ads?
Pop-up ads are usually caused by an ad-supported extension for many modern browsers, which is distributed through various monetization platforms during installation.
How do you prevent pop-up ads?
Turn pop-ups on or off
- On your Android phone or tablet, open the Chrome app.
- To the right of the address bar click on More. Assignments.
- Tap on Permissions. Pop-ups and redirects.
- Disables pop-ups and redirects.
Are pop-ups effective?
Pop-up forms work, and this is the main reason why so many marketers use them. According to research conducted by Sumo, the best performing 10% of pop-up forms convert to a full 9.3%. Now I do not know about you, but an additional 9.3% conversion rate through my website sounds pretty good to me.
Why not use Popups? The disadvantages of using pop-ups on your website are blocking content – and because they tend to load last, users have already started reading when you block their view. They force a user to take action – which is good if they convert, but only exaggerate your intrusion if they do not.
Are pop-ups good for business?
Pop-up Wins: Entrepreneurs And, if not physically open, they can create a website that allows customers to shop online and offer updates when their pop-up is next open. Either way, an entrepreneur with a pop-up has the flexibility and overall ability to stay in business and earn a profit.
How successful are pop-ups?
Pop-ups have been most successful in boosting visibility, sales and social media engagement. The most popular results of pop-ups – respondents chose their top three options – were improved market visibility (51%), increased sales (46%), and more social media engagement (46%).
What is a good conversion rate for a pop-up?
While the average conversion rate for pop-ups is 3.09%, the top pop-ups have almost 10% conversion rates. Of those top pop-ups, 92% of them have pop-ups that appear after 4 seconds. The lowest performers displayed their ads between 0 and 4 seconds.
Do people like pop-ups?
Like it or hate it, pop-up ads work and they are here to stay. While most people despise pop-up ads, with the right strategy, you can create valuable pop-ups that actually appreciate your site traffic. Ultimately, this is the key to any advertising.
Are pop-ups important?
It allows you to grow your mailing list, build relationships with the public via email, and speed up the buyer’s journey. Promoting specific content. While the primary purpose of pop-ups is to generate leads, you can promote your e-book, guide, or case study relevant to the page to visitors.
What is a lightbox vs popup?
So to be brief, the modal popup is mostly for login or registration forms, and the light boxes are more about the ads. In general, they are all the same windows that make the website more organized, more motivating and more productive.
What is a Lightbox for Website? In web design, a lightbox popup is a window overlay that appears at the top of a web page, blocking some of the content on the page. When a popup appears, the background is often dark and cluttered, which means that site visitors will not be able to interact with other content on the site.
What is a lightbox?
What is a light box popup?
A Lightbox popup is a web form that appears at the top of the web page you are viewing. When it appears, the website is dark in the background, so the shape stands out. Lightbox popups are most commonly used as Optin campaigns to fill email addresses.
What is the difference between a popup and a modal?
Modal windows are easier to notice because they are often styled in a way that suits the website theme. Pop-up windows use operating system themes and controls, making it harder to distinguish one from another. Modal windows also darken the background to cut out the background noise.