Are Pop-ups Harming Your SEO?
Pop-ups are one of the most effective marketing mediums on a website because they have an estimated conversion rate of over 10%. Because of this, they have been used on different types of websites since they became popular in the mid-2000s. However, their inclusion on a website is not always beneficial because Google devalues sites that have intrusive pop-ups, which can wreck your SEO. But how do they do this, and what can you do about it?
Understanding Interstitials and Interstitial Penalties
In 2018, Google announced that it would be devaluing websites that had intrusive interstitials on them. Interstitial is a broad term that refers to modals, pop-ups, and overlays that appear on top of the content on a website. Interstitial punishments apply to interstitials that are hard to dismiss, spammy, and that make the user experience worse. A rule to remember is that if a user cannot see the content below or finds it hard to get rid of the thing blocking the content, it is an intrusive interstitial.
Google has been placing increasing emphasis on websites that provide a greater user experience for users on mobile devices. This is an important ranking factor for the company and if you’re not enhancing the experience of mobile users, your ranking on search engine result pages might suffer.
Intrusive interstitials directly affect user experience because they make it harder for users to reach the content they came to your website for. Since user experience is an important ranking factor and SEO’s aim is to get you ranked highly, you can see how these interstitials affect your SEO.
So, What Can You Do To Stop Pop-ups from Affecting Your SEO?
The first thing to do is to make your pop-ups less intrusive. You can do this by reducing their size and ensuring they do not cover more than about a third of the page. You do not need to worry about pop-ups that Google considers to be less problematic, such as cookie notices and age verification pop-ups.
Second, all your pop-ups should be easy to dismiss. The close button link or symbol should be clearly visible and easy to get to even on mobile devices. Do not make the mistake of redirecting your users if they click or touch to close the pop-up because Google penalizes websites for that, too.
Third, use timed pop-ups. Remember that intrusive pop-ups appear before a user can interact with the page or content. Using timed pop-ups means they will interact with the page before they are interrupted. Also, you could implement a pop-up that closes automatically if a user does not take action within a specified time.
Lastly, use data to craft better pop-ups. Metrics you can measure here include bounce rates, number of pages visited per session, time spent on the website, and changes in your ranking. All of these will tell you if there is an issue with the user experience and give you a chance to rectify it before things get worse.
Pop-ups are great for showing users urgent information or getting them to convert, but they can be bad for your SEO if they are not done right. Using the right metrics will show you if they are affecting user experience and SEO, so you can decide if they are worth keeping.