Is Your Website Ready For Google’s New Popup Rules?

Orlando SEO Company

Google SEO Update: Pop-ups can affect your SEO.

This week, Google announced that they will start penalizing websites with intrusive interstitials, aka popup ads, beginning in January of 2017. These search result changes are aimed at mobile users and will make it easier for them to find content.

Two years ago, Google added a mobile friendly label to search results. This helped mobile users find pages where content and text was easily readable and didn’t require zooming in. Since that time Google has watched as the Internet evolved to suit this change. Today 85% of all pages that show up in mobile search results are mobile friendly. In order to enticed websites to make this change they updated their algorithm to increase the ranking of those that complied.

There are three types of popups that Google identified as offenders.

  • Showing a popup that covers the main content, either immediately after the user navigates 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 is looking to the future. With the increase of mobile usage, websites are being guided to be more mobile user-friendly. Google won’t be penalizing all popups though. They gave examples of popups that when used responsible will not be affected by the new rules.

  • Interstitials that appear to be in response to a legal obligation, such as for cookie usage or for age verification.
  • Login dialogs on sites where content is not publicly indexable. For example, this would include private content such as email or unindexable content that is behind a paywall.
  • Banners that use a reasonable amount of screen space and are easily dismissible. For example, the app install banners provided by Safari and Chrome are examples of banners that use a reasonable amount of screen space.

If you are a WordPress user that has one of the hundreds of plugins for popups, you should pay attention to these new rules. When the new year rolls around your WordPress site will be penalized. I am sure these plugins are paying attention and will be making changes. Until then you should be considering other way to approach your visitors.

Orlando SEO Company: Do you need help improving your website’s SEO? We can help you rank higher in Google results. Contact us for a free quote!


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