Google’s pop-up and interstitial penalties are working.

Annoyed by little pop-up windows that cover up the web page you’re trying to read? Well Google is too. Starting mid-January of 2017, the Google penalty for pop-ups and interstitials went into effect for mobile search results. If your website has a pop-up / interstitial like the ones in this picture, then prepare to be penalized.

We are seeing decreases already from the Google penalty for pop-ups.

Websites with pop-ups that fall into these categories, we are seeing lower rankings in the search results since the penalty went into effect:

  • “Showing a pop-up that covers the main content, either immediately after users navigate to a page from the search results, or while they are looking through the page.”
  • “Displaying a standalone interstitial that the user has to dismiss before accessing the main content.”
  • “Using a layout where the above-the-fold portion of the page appears similar to a standalone interstitial, but the original content has been inlined underneath the fold.”:
Google penalty for pop-ups.

Examples of pop-ups and interstitials. Pop-ups (sometimes called “Welcome Mats”) appear on top of the page’s content, blocking you from seeing the page. Interstitials are pages that appear before you see the page you wanted.

What can I do if I have pop-ups or interstitials on my website?

  1. Realize that people hate them and they are a bad user experience. Pop-ups and interstials may help your email capture rate, but do they really help your overall business? If in doubt, assume they are annoying.
  2. Check your Search Console results from before Jan 15 and after Jan 15, 2017. See if you’re losing page position due to the Google penalty for pop-ups.
  3. If there’s any reduction in page position, get rid of your pop-ups or interstitials.
  4. Find a better way to capture you lead information – sometimes a simple contact form at the top and the bottom of the page work just as well. Test it if you need to.

We hope this helps. If you have any questions about why your website isn’t on page one, or if you think you may be affected by the new Google penalty of pop-ups, consider giving us a call, or check-out our free SEO Audit tool.

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