17 Apr 2018

User experience is of the highest value not just for brands and audiences but also for Google. So, if you want to keep Google happy and do SEO right, you certainly must pay attention to the pop-ups on your website. Pop-ups can make or mar a user’s experience, and you could be heavily penalised for using the wrong type at the wrong time.

Get in touch with a digital marketing agency in Bangalore

If you have a website and also use pop-ups of different kinds, you should get in touch with a digital marketing firm and understand how it has dented (or not) your SEO. You would also need to understand the different kinds of pop-ups available. There are pop-ups that open in new windows that are annoying and shunned by Google. Then there are overlays wherein a pop-up opens in the same window (for example a box that says ‘sign up for my newsletter’), modals that get you to fill in a form and don’t allow you to access content underneath till you close them, and lastly, interstitials and prestitials. Prestitials are those that are displayed ahead of the home page opening. An interstitial opens between two pages after you have landed on the site.

What works and what doesn’t

  • Any pop-up that masks website content fully and makes a user close it so as to read is considered intrusive. Some pop-ups are difficult to close and users may abandon the website or ignore the content. Such websites get penalised by Google for sure .
  • Non-intrusive pop-ups are alright for SEO because these may include some disclaimers or age-restrictions or even notifications connected to the use of cookies.
  • Pop-ups that can be easily closed are also alright when you talk about their impact on SEO.
  • Pop-ups can be redesigned and made non-intrusive. One way to do so is changing the timing. How about timing a pop-up to open when a person has finished reading your web page instead of the beginning? Also, changing how long a pop-up stays on the page will also help. The shorter the time a pop-up spends trying to gain a user’s attention, the better. So, if you have a pop-up that closes immediately after a couple of seconds, you rank better than a site that has a pop-up that doesn’t close on its own.
  • If a lot of users find your site via Google and land there only to hit the back button immediately, it means you are not providing a good user experience. You have created a hurdle for them to read your website content. This means you will rank lower and Google is not happy! On the other hand, if your traffic is largely driven by organic searches, and you have been able to generate a lot of leads in spite of a pop-up, it means your content is relevant and Google has used its discretion not to penalise you.
  • Mobile pop-up ads are under heavier fire than desktop ones because it is 2018 and almost everyone and their aunt use a mobile device to consume content! Also, mobile screens are smaller, and a pop-up is definitely going to hamper user experience.

White hat measures: Honesty is the best policy
The best way to ensure good UX practices and not affect your website’s SEO is by being honest. What’s the objective of the pop-up you intend to use on the website? Ask yourself if it disrupts the experience of reading or affects flow. If it is seamless, easy to close or closes on its own, then it may not be a bad pop-up after all. So, stay honest, value your visitors and you grow in their esteem.​