What is Google Pop-Up Update? – A Complete Guide and Recovery Tips


It has happened to many of us, where we start reading an article online and get distracted by the pop-ups displayed on the entire page more often. They are annoying, and Google doesn’t want its users to have a bad experience. Pop-ups impact user experience and therefore, Google implemented some new policies regarding pop-ups. If pop-ups break the given set of rules, the website will get penalized.

Featuring a pop-up that is against Google rules not only affects your website’s organic search ranking but also lowers its quality score.

What are Pop-Ups?

Pop-ups are known as the best way to catch the attention of readers and direct them to the specific location of your website. This is done to make the customer purchase a product, choose the solution, signup for a newsletter or simply, renew a subscription. Recent studies have shown that pop-ups are very effective in obtaining better conversion rates. This is where you can use pop-ups for clear call-to-action.

Some users find the pop-ups and display ads very irritating. While some still believe that pop-ups are another excellent approach to drive sales. professional SEO expert can witness pop-ups as the best way to improve their conversation rates. With this, it is crucial to understand that pop-ups can be helpful if they don’t work against the Google guidelines. Pop-ups sometimes are commanding, distract users, and may perceive as aggravating.

In this case, the website needs to be careful while using pop-ups if it doesn’t want to be penalized by Google.

What is the Pop-up Penalty?

From January 10th, 2017, Google decided to penalize pop-ups on mobile web pages that are intrusive to the reader. With this, Google wants to ensure that content served to users is easy to access on all devices. Google penalizes pop-ups because they are difficult to close down and even impact the user experience. Also, sometimes pop-ups may appear spammy. While focusing on the indexing of the mobile search results, having a website riddled with interstitials at the top will affect the user search experience.

Google classified common types of pop-ups that are affected by the new pop-up penalty:

1. Small pop-ups: These pop-ups don’t occupy the whole screen but layover the content. They fade out the content and make it impossible for a user to read anything.

2. Fullscreen pop-ups: These pop-ups push content down, so users need to scroll down to see the content. Sometimes, they lay over the content and need to be closed before proceeding to the content.

You need to understand that these pop-ups are actually stopping a user from accessing the site. Using the above types of pop-ups would impact your SEO efforts negatively. They may affect the process of converting your visitors to turn into potential customers and carry the risk of being penalized by Google.

Why Does Google Penalize Websites with Pop-ups?

Google penalizes pop-ups if it is considered intrusive. If you fully optimize your pop-ups, this doesn’t mean you can go ahead and fill your web pages with them. It is better to avoid this if you want to be found by Google. Some visitors close the window and leave the website if they chance upon a pop-up. To ensure visitors spend more time on your website, make your content more visible than pop-ups.

These days search engines are greatly influenced by mobile searches. To make content more easily accessible on mobiles, Google has introduced several mobile guidelines that explain which pop-ups are not acceptable. The basic rule is that pop-ups that are intrusive to readers come under the section of a big NO.

Google wants to make sure that content served to users must be easily accessible. In case, pop-ups block them to access the content, the website will get penalized. Google started to penalize pop-ups on mobile web pages in order to provide a better user experience. Although pop-ups are considered to provide higher engagement, they may detract from providing the overall user experience. If your website is having excessive pop-ups, then Google will list you down in the search result.

Some Pop-ups that Google Does Not Support

Google is strictly against the pop-ups that significantly prevent people from using your website.

This includes:

Content-covered with pop-ups that hinder users to read.

Splash ads that interrupt users to navigate between pages or go back to the homepage.

Pop-ups that come immediately after the user clicks on your page.

Pop-ups that are difficult to dismiss

Spammy pop-ups that make visitors accidentally click on them and direct them to other websites.

Full-screen overlays.

Pop-ups that ask a user to install something.

Sometimes, the option to close a pop-up may be hard to find and therefore, many users have to leave a site without accessing it entirely. The reason why Google is being harsh on pop-ups is to provide a better user experience.

Recover Your Website From Pop-ups Penalty

Pop-ups negatively affect the user experience and build the wrong perception of your brand. Many users get annoyed by pop-ups, specifically when they occur on mobile.

If your website has been affected by the Google penalty, given are some ways to recover:

Predetermine the time of a pop-up display.

Make the pop-up non-intrusive as much as possible.

Consider the traffic source and then display the pop-up accordingly.

Avoid using pop-ups that come on the main content of your website.

Use the display sidebar, full screen, and floating pop-ups that look attractive and don’t aggravate visitors.

Make the pop-up that is relevant yet attractive.

Offer valuable and relatable content to make visitors continue to browse the website even after closing the pop-up.

Co-operate a pop-up service with scroll trigger features.

Work on designing the website with UX as one of the top priorities.

There is nothing much annoying than a pop-up that interrupts the users to access information on the website. Using excessive and non-relevant pop-ups can make your website hit by the penalty. If you have noticed an increase in the bounce rate, your pop-ups may be the possible reason for that.

Google aims to provide a better user experience to visitors. Intrusive pop-ups lower experience and may interrupt the growth of your website.

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