Are Pop-Ups Killing Your SEO?

January 3, 2017


Are Pop-Ups Killing Your SEO?
Spark, WordPress Concierge
03 January 2017
In the middle of last year, Google released a pop-up policy that discouraged the use of any pop-up or Interstitial ad that blocked more than a small percent of the page on mobile devices.  It wasn’t a hugely noticed update, and many sites are still running pop-ups that can kill the mobile experience.
Not only that, but people continue to add pop-ups using all sorts of plugins.  Pop-ups can be a hugely effective tool to boost your opt-in rates, and so are obviously very popular.  But when you just add one to your site, you might be hurting your long term SEO targets.

Now, for clarity, you can still run normal pop-ups on your website.  Just not on the mobile version of your site.  You do have a mobile version, right?  At least a good responsive framework?  If not, you need to optimize for mobile before you ever worry about pop-ups.  But if your site is responsive and you are serving the same pop-ups for desktop and mobile, you are losing out.

Examples of ‘Bad’ Pop-Ups
This photo was taken from Google’s original article ‘Helping Users Easily Access Content on Mobile
If you think that your market is largely comprised of desktop users, think again.  Over 50% of search worldwide happens on mobile devices.  And those numbers are going to keep going up.  So, what can you do that you aren’t compromising your site’s ranking on mobile search?

Well, the short answer is, you have to make sure that your pop-up tool is compatible with creating mobile friendly pop-ups.  What does this mean?

  1. You need the ability to display different pop-ups on desktop and mobile – ideally, your pop-up tool should be able to do this out of the box, or you need to understand enough about code to make it happen.
  2. Your pop-up tool must have the ability to do non-standard pop-ups.  Banner style pop-ups are the easiest (the one that came up on this page when you got here is a great example.

Luckily, Pop-Up Maker, our favorite plugin for pop-ups, is not only compatible but has released their own free template for a super mobile friendly pop-up.  Not only do they have both of these features, they’ve actually released a template you can use to import a banner style pop-up that looks great on all devices and get it set up in no time.

“You need to be able to display different pop-ups on different devices.”
Pop-Up Maker has written a great post on the topic and provides the resources you need in their article ‘Are you ready for Google’s new policy on pop-ups?

But, what if you are using a pop-up plugin that doesn’t have a mobile switch?  Well, the reality is, it is probably time to change what you are using.  We love to keep on top of what you guys are doing, so… let us know.  Use the comments below to share examples of how you are doing great mobile responsive pop-ups, or feel free to post questions about your specific setup – we love to help!

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