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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.