Google will soon start punishing mobile sites that show hard-to-dismiss popups

By October 7, 2016Google
Google to punish sites with hard-to-dismiss popups

Hard-To-Dismiss Popups Could Equate To A Hard-To-Find Website

If there were any doubt that Google’s main focus is delivering the best possible user experience, the latest news about hard-to-dismiss popups ads and forms should clear things up.

Popups On Mobile

The important news has to do with those (let’s face it) annoying ads and announcements that popup on mobile sites. These ads take up the entire screen and, thanks to the virtually impossible to find X close-out button, more times than not mobile users end up clicking the ad and are taken off site.

This is far from a positive user experience, so Google’s taking a stand:

Come January 10, 2017, if your mobile page features one of these hard-to-dismiss popups, then your rankings will likely drop.

The key term here is likely. Google’s not going to punish every single site that uses these interstitials. They’ll only punish sites that make their content less accessible.

What’s That Mean?

Well, if your popup covers the main content once a user navigates to that page, or while they’re looking at it, then be prepared to pay. You can also expect to see bad rankings if you have a standalone interstitial that has to be dismissed in order for that user to access the main content. If, however, you use an interstitial for a login dialog or in response to legal obligations, you should not see a drop in rankings. But again, there’s a key term here: should not.

Monitoring And Auditing Your Web Pages To Avoid Negative Rankings

Google’s ability to discern between best practices and “black-hat practices” is pretty sophisticated. But it’s not foolproof.

Rather than enact a wait-and-see approach for this January change, the best way to protect your digital presence online is to conduct a thorough website audit. With this audit, you should walk away with a clear breakdown of any webpages that are in violation of the popup rule or that are questionable.

Clearly you’ll want to address the violators, however, you’ll also want to closely monitor your questionable pages as well. In fact, we’d suggest looking into alternatives for these questionable pages so that you can still create the same experience that your popup ads delivered, without being in violation.

What Type Of Alternatives Might This Be?

It could be as simple as deactivating the popups for mobile devices or adapting their behavior so they don’t consume the entirety of the mobile screen. With every web page change, we recommend performing A/B testing to see which experience your audience responds to more. Even with these changes, however, it’ll be vital that you continue to monitor all of your web pages – and their rankings – when this algorithmic change becomes enacted. The OperationROI team can help you perform your audit, as well as ongoing monitoring, to ensure your mobile pages aren’t penalized needlessly. Contact our team today at 1-888-277-5429 or by filling out our contact form to learn more.

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