Since January, when Google had started to devalue unwanted pop-up ads and other interstitials in mobile websites, many experts in the field of SEO had an important question in their minds - whether to use Pop-Ups or not . It is to be noted that Google does not say they are penalizing all types of pop-ups in mobile websites. The main purpose of this algorithm update was to improve user experience on mobile devices as pop-ups and interstitials stop users from viewing the web page properly. The user has to dismiss the pop-up before viewing the main content.
But this doesn’t mean that the use of pop-ups have to be completely stopped. It is seen that average conversion rate of pop-ups that are high performing is around 9 to 10 percent. Pop-ups also generate more clicks if used correctly. There are several ways in which you can use pop-ups without getting penalized by Google.
Determine Which Pop-Ups or Interstitials are Intrusive
Google can penalize the mobile sites where the pop-up ads look spammy, forced and difficult to remove by the users. This may also reduce the position of your website in the SERP as Google is moving towards mobile-first indexing. Therefore, to avoid getting penalized, you must determine which interstitials are affecting the sound viewing experience of mobile users. Some examples of intrusive pop-ups are:
Pop-ups that arise immediately before the user can even access the contents of the website they were visiting.
Pop-ups that cover the content after the website has loaded and the user has to close the pop-up to continue reading.
Page layouts where the above-the-fold portion acts as a pop-up or interstitial.
Use Pop-Ups that do not obstruct User Experience
Make sure pop-up ads complementing the user experience of the visitors, not causing disturbance. But in some cases, pop-ups are required to be used to obstruct the content of the mobile website like age verification blockers or any type of legally required pop-up. Google does not penalize these types of pop-ups. It is recommended to use slide-in pop-up boxes or top banners that does not stop visitors from viewing the content freely. Also remember that the pop-up should take only 15 percent of the screen space or less, and not the entire screen.
“Gray Area” Interstitials
Take a note that Google treats language selection pop-ups on international sites as pop-ups/interstitials. Be extra cautious if you are using “gray area” interstitials, such as share buttons,sticky sidebars, related posts, and coupon pop-ups on your website.
Use of Timed Pop-Ups
A great way to use pop-ups without making them obstruct the content is to use timed pop-ups. You can set the time of the pop-up so that it displays when the user is at the end of any content or scrolling downwards to the end of the page. For example, when a user is reading a content from your website and at the end of the content finds a pop-up that leads the user to other related content, it will be very useful for your website. You can also set the time of the pop-up to close on its own when there is no action taken. Through this, the user does not have to click the close button every time the interstitial appears.
But it is to be noted that timed pop-ups are effective as long as the content is strong enough to keep the visitor on the site. Therefore go through the content before opting for timed pop-ups.
Pop-ups Can Still be Used on Desktop
For those who had been thinking that Google’s penalty will affect the websites with pop-ups on the desktop versions as well, they are wrong. Pop-ups and intrusive ads are still available to be used on desktop based websites. Many plug-ins are out there that have targeting options so that you can choose the platform where your ad can be displayed. However, it is to be mentioned that in the near future, the websites with intrusive pop-ups hampering user experiences can still be punished.
These are some of the points you should take notice of before opting for interstitials or pop-ups on your mobile website. However, it is seen that many mobile sites are still using pop-ups and ranking well. This is because the update was not meant for any disruption in mobile traffic or ranking or anything SEO related. It is important that marketing experts should place pop-up ads and interstitials in a way they don’t hamper user experience.
Pop-ups are still one of the best options for conversion rate optimization, and if used effectively, it can help in generating more traffic as well as business leads. Therefore, start preparing now, and use pop-ups in such a manner they appear useful for the visitors. Proper placement and utilization of pop-ups will not harm your ranking and could remain safe from any future penalties.