Pop-ups are not considered a good strategy for the SEO purpose as Google has time and again warned about using such obtrusive methods that affect the user experience. However, it works so well for advertisers that they can’t resist the temptation to use it. The conversion rate of pop up advertising is 9.28 percent. That’s obvious businesses detest losing such a huge number of traffic. However, they would not like to invite Google penalty either which will result in the complete loss of traffic.
1. Understand Which Interstitials Are No-goes
Google is especially harsh to intrusive interstitials which are pop-ups, overlays, and modals. However, not all interstitials fall into this category. If your interstitial is not spammy in nature or does not diminish your users’ experience, it’s okay to use. However, you should avoid using obtrusive ones as your mobile page may be devalued by Google.
You should not use the following kind of interstitials:
- Avoid using content covering pop-ups that stop users from accessing the content.
- Do not use standalone interstitials before users can access your account.
- Never use deceptive page layouts that seem like an interstitial.
Also, avoid the following kind of interstitials:
- Classic interstitial ads and splash ads that interrupt users as they navigate between pages and/or before they reach your homepage.
- New window pop-ups that open as soon as a user clicks on your page.
- Welcome mats, new window pop-ups, and other intrusive ads.
- Overlay models that are difficult to close and/or easily redirect visitors who accidentally click on them.
2. Continue Using Non-intrusive Interstitials
You should know that Google doesn’t penalize non-intrusive interstitials and they are perfectly legal in the eyes of Google. Other types of pop-ups such as banner ads, slide-ins, inlines and tabs limited in the 15% of the screen are OK to use. In the case of confusion, avoid using full-screen overlays, welcome mats, and other types of ad models. If possible switch to top banners and slide-in boxes.
- Switch to Timed Pop-Ups
In case you are damn sure that pop-ups and overlays are necessary, design them in a way they are as less intrusive as possible. You can also plan to change the timing of interstitials. Instead of showing them as soon as users land on the page, you can use them when they are finished reading. This will make it less intrusive.
“If your content isn’t compelling enough to keep users on-site, clicking through your pages and reading your content, then consider investing in your content marketing before you start plugging it with ads.” writes Search Engine Journal.
- Focus on ‘Grey Area Interstitials
Some interstitials impacted by Google’s interstitial penalty might surprise you.For example, Mueller confirmed that language selection pop-ups on international sites might be devalued, because “yes, those are popups/interstitials too.”
Carefully monitor your page performance if you’re using these or other “gray area” interstitials, such as sticky sidebars, related posts, share buttons, live chat boxes, and coupon pop-ups. While I don’t expect these to negatively impact SEO, it’s better to be safe than sorry.