Google implements a penalty for intrusive mobile popups

There has been some decent articles published over the past several weeks in regard to “The HOT SEO trends coming in 2017”, and although some mention some great insight into SEO in 2017, I find that most failed to mention the Google SEO penalty in regard to intrusive mobile popups. This penalty was announced on August 23 on the Webmaster Central Blog and will be implemented within their algorithm after January 10, 2017.

So what’s Google going on about with this new ranking signal anyway? Well, nothing really has changed. Google wants to be able to deliver the best content to users, so they have defined that intruding into the UX with some “Hit-em-up” tactic is not beneficial to their service.

Invasive Interstices

An interstitial, or a space that intervenes between closely spaced things, is a word which I recently learned after hearing about this new Google mobile popup penalty. Interstitial; it kinda rolls of the tongue.

Google is defining these intrusive popups as interstitials, or containers which intervene between other closely spaced containers; whither within the x, y or z axes. With this identified, one can speculate how much Google ranks pages based upon the specific content presented to the user. If an interstitial is presented to the content reader just after the page loads, or while the visitor is reading, it can be seen as a deterrent which hinders the users’ mission of finding a specific answer.

Oh, Great! Here’s an article I think might answer the question I have…. BAM – SIGN UP FOR MY NEWSLETTER!

Intrusive mobile popups could be problematic in ranking a webpage in Google

No really, it’s a great newsletter – the best.

2017: The Death of The Intrusive Popup

Ah man, I wish. “2017: The Death of The Intrusive Popup” would be a great title for this article, although if you were to review what was mentioned in the article Website keywords & where to put them you would have a better idea why I decided not to use it as the title of this article. Although, with this said, it’s defiantly the pop star which should have been claimed by 2016!

Anyway, moving on. Within the August article Google published, properly titled as Helping users easily access content on mobile, one can easily grasp the concept & action Google is nudging content produces to adhere to: make mobile browsing a bit more friendly by removing intrusive popups.

Does this account for all popups? No, not at all. There are some legitimate use-cases where using a popup won’t be penalized:

Acceptable Interstitials

  • Requesting login credentials into an area which is unindexable.
  • One which requests legal obligations; such as age verification or cookie usage.
  • Easily dismissive banners which utilize a respectable amount of screen real estate.
Here, have an infographic about acceptable interstitials. Please note: don’t be a zero, give credit to the SEO Hero.The best popups to use for mobile websites

Prioritize Content For All Users

Providing a great user experience for mobile users has been extremely important for some time now. Google is now defining that these intrusive popups should become something of the past.

Penalized Interstitials – Is the sky falling?

Calm down there, chicken. No, the world is not coming to an end with this Google penalty; it’s about to get better. Imagine, the internet without nonsense popups pushing the user to sign-up for their newsletter. Sounds like a tropical island beach paradise!

Well, although portraying the complete dismissal of website popups as paradise is a stretch, but it would be nice, Google has acknowledges that a site using an intrusive interstitial would have a “better Chance” of being penalized. As mentioned here in the article Google titled Helping users easily access content on mobile:

Remember, this new signal is just one of hundreds of signals that are used in ranking. The intent of the search query is still a very strong signal, so a page may still rank highly if it has great, relevant content.

I suspect that the popup will still remain around on into 2018, for there are a lot of bloggers who reap financial success with these type of, hopefully, soon-to-be old-school tactics.

To conclude this article, I would like to point out that there are better ways of getting what you want. For example, sign up for the HeroSEO newsletter. As I’ve mentioned before, it’s great. If you enjoyed this article, let me know by leaving a comment!

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