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Mobile Phone with Pop-Up Ad on Screen

Pop-up ads like these are not considered mobile-friendly.

Yesterday, Google confirmed that mobile web pages using pop-up ads may not rank as highly. More specifically, it means this new SEO ranking signal can affect “pages where content is not easily accessible to a user on the transition from the mobile search results.”

It makes sense, really, from Google’s end. Always trying to improve the user experience, they want mobile searchers to be able to immediately access content; not have to deal with annoying pop-up ads every. time. they. visit. a. website.

But even on your end, removing these types of advertisements (what Google calls intrusive interstitials) can actually improve the interactions you see from your website visitors – not to mention the SEO benefits, now that Google is advocating for a “no pop-up” mobile experience.

3 Examples of Pop-Up Ads

Google can penalize your SEO if you use these types of pop-ups.

Your World without Pop-Up Ads

I know pop-ups seem like a great way to get website visitors to sign up for your newsletter seconds after they hit the home page (for the record, not a bad strategy), but Google doesn’t agree. At least not anymore. No, what they want is for mobile users to click on links and then be able to access the content right away, without interruption and without trying to find that little “x” to click on.

The benefit of removing these ads? You’ll likely see a lower bounce rate on your mobile pages, and users won’t be inclined to immediately leave the site. And – ding ding ding – that’s good news for your SEO.

Even if you do remove those intrusive interstitials – which, I sure hope you’re planning to do now that if affects search rankings – you have other options.

For example, if you are trying to announce a sale on your outdoor tents, then why not put a banner ad on the tents page? This will make sure you’re communicating your advertisements to people who are actually interested in them, and your ad won’t cover up the content searchers want. After all, not everyone who visits your website is going to be looking for outdoor tents, so consider personalizing your message for more effectiveness.

Google did provide the caveat that your pages may not be affected if they are highly relevant and the intent of the search query is strong. But, if I were you, I wouldn’t want to gamble on my SEO. Especially when there are other – and, in my opinion, better – ways to get visitors to take the actions you want them to take.