Are Pop-Ups the Good, the Bad or the Ugly?

Are Pop-Ups the Good, the Bad or the Ugly?

Anna Kowalska

Google has just made an announcement that certain pop-ups will now be penalised, but what does this mean for you? If your content is less accessible due to constant pop-ups, Google will be docking your site. So, what kinds of pop-ups exactly make a site less accessible? Find out everything you need to know below.

The New Google Pop-Ups Penalty

Google has helpfully provided some more information on what types of pop-ups will be worthy of a penalty. The first is those that cover the main content of the page. This can be immediate as someone logs on to the site or it can be as you are looking at the page. Secondly, if a user has to physically do something to get rid of it before they can see the main content, this will be penalised. Finally, if you are using layouts where the top of the page looks like a standalone pop-up with the content inline beneath it, this will incur a penalty.

However, it’s not all bad news as many pop-ups will not incur a penalty if they are used responsibly. Pop-ups used for legal use or to inform of cookie use on the site will not be affected. Pop-ups will also be allowed for private content that is not publicly indexable. Lastly, banners that can be easily closed or that do not take up too much space will be allowed.

So, what is the reason behind these changes? Well, it is all to do with mobile use and making mobile accessibility easier!

Pop-Ups – the Bad

Why is Google focusing their efforts on pop-ups? Simply because the majority of users find them incredibly annoying! Between just 2014 and 2015, the use of ad-blockers rose by a whopping 41%. Furthermore, most users do not even see the true pop-up anymore as the main search engine sites have built in pop-up blockers. When the man who created pop-ups apologises for them, you know things have gone too far.

Pop-Ups – the Good

While there are plenty of negatives to note, are there any positives? The biggest positive with pop-ups is simply that they do actually work. Like it or not! Statistics have proven this time and time again with one SumoMe study even finding the following. First, the top 10% highest-performing ones had nearly a 10% conversion rate. Furthermore, the average conversion rate for all pop-ups sits at 3.09%.

How to Prepare for the Google Pop-Ups Penalty

If you want to be completely on the safe side, we would recommend not having pop-ups unless they are required by law. However, there are a few steps you can take to ensure you don’t get hit with a Google penalty. We would recommend that businesses who retain much of their revenue from display ads should start looking into other options. We would also recommend that you make sure all of your mobile content is the best it can be. Pop-ups left on your site should be unobtrusive, should not appear immediately and they should be easy to close.