How do you feel about the pop-ups that ask you to subscribe to email newsletters you encounter on many websites?
Do you want to punch the website’s owners? Or, do you just click the “X” in the upper right corner and go on with your day?
Well, Google’s sensitive to the fact that many users can’t stand pop ups. On the other hand, many websites continue to use them (even after the introduction of this penalty) because they do help build email lists quite well.
Anyway, Google’s publicly said this about intrusive popups:
“To improve the mobile search experience, after January 10, 2017, pages where content is not easily accessible to a user on the transition from the mobile search results may not rank as highly.”
And this is kind of a big deal because email lists do an awesome job of engaging and selling across all industries (consumer and business-to-business).
What Does This Mean at a Practical Level?
Google calls intrusive popups “intrusive interstitials.” They use this term to refer to those popups that block your entire screen before you can take an action. That could include a popup to join an email list or a banner ad that suddenly hits you before you can go to the next level in a game.
Searchers, and Google, do not like ads that disrupt their browsing experience. They want one click to get to your content. They don’t want to click on your listing and then click down a popup or two to get to what they want. That frustrates them.
There’s a Simple Alternative
Fortunately, this change simply forces you to use content to guide your visitors through your buying process. Web searchers and Google don’t mind that at all, as long as you’re not pushy and obnoxious about getting people to buy.
And list-building? Yep, you can still do it. You simply embed the email sign-up form in various places throughout your website (at the top of the pages, after the end of blog posts, and in sidebars are key areas).
The cool thing about building an email list is that it protects you from rankings changes. Once you have people on your list, Google can’t do a thing to remove people off them. Only you can influence whether they stay or go. And people on your list already love you. So it’s much easier to sell something to them than people who come from search.
Google’s intrusive pop-ups penalty? It’s not a surprise at all. And you don’t have to worry about it a bit.