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7 Pop Ups Tricks to Avoid Hurting Your SEO Efforts

Blog5June-01

Using pop-ups add in your website can be a confusing task. Especially since, Google’s mobile has just released its new update, Google’s mobile interstitial penalty. Many web developers are still arguing whether to use or not to use pop ups. In this article, we reveal 7 simple tricks to minimize the risk for using pop-ups without harming your SEO.

  1. Understand Which Interstitials are No-goes

Lately Google’s mobile interstitial penalty has become one of the most popular updates. “Interstitial” is a broad term that refers to most pop-ups, overlays, and modals. However, not all interstitials are considered equally intrusive.

As a general rule of thumb, your mobile page may be devalued if your interstitials are spammy, difficult to dismiss, or diminish your users’ experience. In addition of mobile indexing, this will hurt your positions in the SERPs.

Below are examples of interstitials that make your content less accessible:

  • Content-covering pop-ups which users are forced to close it before they can continue reading.
  • Standalone interstitials that appear before users can access your content.
  • Deceptive page layouts whose above-the-fold portion looks like an interstitial.

Moreover, there are some ads that Google’s known to dislike and has penalized in the past, including:

  • Classic interstitial ads and splash ads that interrupt users since they navigate between pages or before they reach your homepage.
  • Annoying window pop-ups that appear as soon as a user clicks on your page.
  • Welcome mats, new window pop-ups, and other intrusive ads.
  • Confusing overlay modals or easily redirects visitors who accidentally click on them.
  • Intrusive lightbox ads and pop-ups.

These don’t mean that all interstitials are forbidden for interstitials triggered by exit intent are still permitted.

  1. Continue Using Non-Intrusive Interstitials

If Intrusive interstitials are bad, non-intrusive interstitials are oppositely good for your SEO. Non-intrusive interstitials are information such as age verification interstitials, and cookie use notifications. It also includes other pop-ups, such as banner ads; slide ins, in lines and tabs. This is because they take up only 15 percent or less portion of the screen than it is recommended.

The important thing is to avoid covering all of your screen with full-screen overlays, welcome mats, and ad modals. Instead of using them, you can use other options, such as top banners and slide-in boxes.

  1. Switch to Timed Pop Ups

If you have to continue to use pop-ups and overlays, you can try to redesign and change the timing of your interstitials. For instance, you get used to place a pop-up right after a user lands on your page. Now you can display the pop-up before your users leaving your blog post.

Another idea is to limit how long pop-ups are displayed. A pop up that can automatically close after several seconds is way better than one that should be closed.

  1. Watch Out for “Gray Area” Interstitials

You might be surprised that some interstitials might be devalued as Google consider them as intrusive interstitials. They are sticky sidebars, related posts, share button, live chat boxes, and coupon pop-ups. Even though, they may not produce big negative impact on your SEO, but you better avoid them than sorry.

  1. Use Permitted (but Intrusive) Pop-ups cautiously

There are some ads that are definitely interruptive but aren’t penalized yet. This is because Google will inspect them later.

  • Page-to-page interstitials: We all know that Google values good UX, but page to page interstitials are not good UX.
  • Interstitials triggered by exit intent: Pop-ups triggered by exit intent aren’t penalized by the new update. To avoid landing on the wrong side of the interstitial penalty, you can place a no index tag in your code.
  1. Intrusive Ads on Desktop is still Allowed

The easiest way to solve this problem is by hiding pop-ups on mobile devices. However, you can keep using them for desktop visitors. In fact, you can find some pop-up plugins that allow you to display your ads on any particular platforms. However, this is not a permanent solution as intrusive pop ups would diminish your UX. Therefore, it could be penalized under a future update.

  1. Restrict Pop-Ups to Sources Other Than Google Organic Search

Another way to avoid the interstitials penalty is by finding your websites from other sources outside Google organic search results. In addition, don’t feel too pressured to switch, if organic search drives a lot of your traffic and it generates leads. Bear in mind that useful content is above the other things, so one or two interstitial ad won’t lose a website.

Guidelines to Avoiding Google’s Penalty Caused by Intrusive Interstitials

Intrusive interstitials guidelines to avoiding google's penalty

This year, Google has made one recent change known as the intrusive interstitial update. This update aims to penalize intrusive popup ads which affect the mobile user experience. No wonder that some websites have experienced lowered mobile rankings. If you are working in SEO service field, this thing may become one of your concerns. But, don’t worry as you can avoid Google’s penalty caused by intrusive interstitials. Figure out the solutions in the passages below.

Decrypting the Intrusive Interstitial Update
First of all, it’s a mobile popup penalty.  Secondly, it’s an intrusive popup penalty. In light of this, Google wants to make sure that ads and popups do not interfere with the user experience. By devaluing pages with popups and overlays on the screen, Google can help users access the content they’ve requested in the first place.

What is the Impact of this Latest Update?
Pages with intrusive interstitials will no longer consider as being mobile-friendly. This is because obstructing content on mobile with ads or other popups is against Google’s guidelines. Ads or popups on screen causes the content inaccessible for a few seconds. In fact, Ads displayed over content are no longer acceptable on mobile. This includes popups that appear when you load the page from Google or when you scroll down.

What Constitutes an Intrusive Interstitial?
Intrusive interstitials will lead to a frustrating experience for desktop and mobile users alike. In fact, it tends to block most or all of a page. This will hinder visitors from experiencing your site as they block the content that visitors seek unexpectedly. In light of this, intrusive interstitials has become the biggest enemy as on desktop they are annoying at best and can ruin the entire experience on mobile.

What is still Permitted and not?
Even though, you have to deal with pop ups ads, but this doesn’t mean that all pop ups are forbidden. In fact, some popups are still permitted, such as:

  • Intrusive popups are still ok on desktop
  • Interstitials triggered by exit intent are still allowed
  • Page to page interstitials will not be penalized

Types of intrusive interstitials that will be forbidden are:

  • a popup or modal window that blocks most or all of the content on a page (this is basically a full-screen interstitial above the header);
  • a standalone interstitial that’s not responsive and that blocks the content;
  • a layout in which the content above the fold has the look and feel of an interstitial and requires dismissal or scrolling in order for the user to reach the main content beneath the fold.

Workarounds
Popups is frustrating indeed, but companies use them as at some points they are effective. So, if interstitials still become the best options to convert users for your websites. You can consider keeping them on the website by a no-index tag in your code. However, this will cut off organic traffic from Google to that page.

Therefore, designers, developers and marketers must create another ways to generate revenue. A sound strategy would be to leverage content marketing to educate audiences and guide them through the buying process. In the other words, you should move away from interruption marketing towards permission marketing.

So, the solutions that you can do related to this situation are; audit your popups, cookie notifications, overlays and big banners. This is to make sure that they comply with Google’s new guidelines. Furthermore, make sure that don’t take up space more than 15% from the screen to avoid penalty.

4 Tips on How to Deal with Duplicate Content Issues

How-to-deal-with-duplicate-content

If you work as a content writer for SEO service, you certainly have to face or deal with duplicate content issues. There are many definition of duplicate content that you can discover. But, among so many definitions, some people still love referring to Google’s definition. According to Google, duplicate content generally refers to substantive blocks of content within or across domains that either completely matches other content or is appreciably similar.

Broadly, Google categories two types of instances of duplicate content. The first type is for duplicate content on the same domain. The other type is for duplicate content across multiple domains.  This way, you can review whether you have that kind of duplicate content on your site.

Problems caused by Duplicate Content

After reviewing the existence of duplicate content on you site, now, you have to know the problems that can be caused by having duplicate content.

  1. Link Popularity Dilution

You will end up creating and distributing different versions of your site links as you start link-building. This is because search engines could not interpret that all the URLs pointed to the same target location as you don’t set a consistent URL structure for your site.

  1. Showing unfriendly URLs

When Google discovers two identical or appreciably similar resources on the web, it chooses to show one of them to the searcher. Mostly, Google will select the best one to be displayed on search engine result lists. But, sometimes Google might show a poor looking URL version of your site.

There wouldn’t have been this confusion and the user would only see the best and most branded version of your URL, if you avoided the instance of duplicate content in the first place.

  1. Zapping Search Engine Crawler Resources

Since Google will surely crawl your site, so it is important to understand how search bots will crawl over your new content. These crawler cycles could have otherwise been used to crawl over and index any freshly published content that you might have added to your site. This not only will waste crawler resources but also will hurt your SEO.

Solutions for Treating the Duplicate Content Problem

  1. Consistency

In the earlier section, you can see that a majority of instances of duplicate content occurs when the URL structure is inconsistent. Therefore, it will be better to standardize your preferred link structure along with proper use of canonical tags. To let Google knows your preferred URL version, you can set your preference in your Google Webmasters account. Here some things that you could opt to set your preferred domain:

  • Sorts duplicate content issues with the www and non-www version
  • Retains link juice

Next step after setting your preferred domain in Google Webmaster Tools is to set up 301 redirects from all of the non-preferred domain links on your site to your preferred ones. This step will make visitors learn about your preferred version.

  1. Canonicalization

Canonical tags can be implemented through several ways, such as follows:

  • Set the preferred version: www and the non-www
  • Manually point to the canonical link for all the pages
  • Set up 301 redirects
  1. Use the hreflang tag to handle localized sites

Hreflang tag is important to help the search engines choose the right version of your content, especially after you use translated content. For example, you translate your English site into Spanish to meet the local audience language, you should add the tag, “<link rel=”alternate” href=”http://example.com” hreflang=”en-es” />” to the Spanish version of your site.

Following this method will avoid you from the risk of search engines considering it as duplicate content and in the other side, it will also improve the user experience when they want to be served in their native language.

  1. Use the hashtag instead of the question mark operator when using UTM parameters

To measure the effectiveness of different Channels, it’s common to use tracking URL parameters like the source, campaign and medium. But, when you create a link like http://yoursite.com/?utm_source=newsletter4&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=holidays, search engines crawl it and report instances of duplicate content.

Hence, an easy way is to use the # operator rather than the question mark. In order to avoiding duplicate content issues, search engine bots come across the # sign in a URL, they ignore all that follows the sign.