Free Assessment: How does your inbound marketing measure up?

Get Started

Free Assessment:

How does your inbound marketing measure up?
Take this free, 5-minute assessment and learn what you can start doing today to boost traffic, leads, and sales.
Get Started

Free Assessment:

What Does Google’s Popup Ban Mean for Your Mobile Marketing?

By Iris Hearn

What Does Google’s Popup Ban Mean for Your Mobile Marketing?

Whether you’re an online retailer, B2B software company, or agency, popups have become quite a common practice in the last few years.

Unfortunately, despite their popularity, many brands are in for a rude awakening from Google come January. 

On August 23rd, Google announced some new policies regarding mobile popups that will take effect on January 10th, 2017. If your website currently uses mobile popups promoting new offers, it could hurt your website’s search engine ranking dramatically.

Doantam Phan, Product Manager at Google, explained on the company's webmaster blog that any “intrusive interstitials” (i.e. mobile popups that block content) are now “considered to provide a poorer experience to users where other pages where content is immediately assessable.”

To combat this problem, any “pages where content is not easily accessible to a user on the transition from the mobile search results may not rank as highly” according to Phan.

In other words, if your site features mobile popups, your SEO ranking could take a big hit if you don’t take action by January.

This news has left many digital marketers wondering how they will be affected by this change, and what steps should be taken to be prepared.

Here’s what marketers need to know about this update, and what it means for your mobile marketing strategy.

What Will Be Affected?

Before you go removing all popups from your website, it’s important to know which pages will be affected.

First off, these policies only apply to mobile website pages.

Because mobile screens are smaller, intrusive add-ons can negatively impact the user experience and make pages difficult to navigate. Fortunately, for now, promotional pop-up features on a desktop screen can still be used without facing a penalty in your ranking.

More specifically, here’s what Google identifies  as “intrusive” and will hurt your ranking on mobile:

  • “Showing a popup that covers the main content, either immediately after the user navigates to a page from the search results, or while they are looking through a page.
  • Displaying a standalone interstitial that the user has to dismiss before accessing the main content.
  • Using a layout where the above-the-fold portion of the page appears similar to a standalone interstitial, but the original content has been inlined underneath the fold”

To put it a different way, if your mobile content resembles any of these pictures below, you’ll want to change your strategy.


So, Does That Go for All Mobile Popups?

Actually, no.

Google recognizes that some pop-ups are necessary and can even improve the user experience at times. For this reason, they identified mobile pop-ups that will not affect your website’s ability to score a high SEO ranking.

These exceptions include:

  • “Interstitials that appear to be in response to a legal obligation, such as for cookie usage or for age verification.
  • Login dialogs on sites where content is not publicly indexable. For example, this would include private content such as email or unindexable content that is behind a paywall.
  • Banners that use a reasonable amount of screen space and are easily dismissible. For example, the app install banners provided by Safari and Chrome are examples of banners that use a reasonable amount of screen space.”

Here’s what these acceptable interstitials would look like:


What Does this Mean for Mobile Marketing?

For companies that rely heavily on mobile add-ons to generate leads and ultimately gain customers, this update can leave them with a lot of questions.

Some companies may opt to keep their pop-ups on mobile and risk the lower search rank because of the sheer number of leads generated through these tactics, but this is not the best course of action to take.

Because more people use the internet from their mobile phone rather than a desktop, losing traffic due to a lower search engine ranking can really hurt your overall business.

A better option, according to a recent article in HubSpot is for marketers to “solve for mobile SEO first” and find ways “to make money that don’t totally disrupt the mobile user experience.”

In other words, marketing teams need to focus more on creating amazing content rather than simply throwing form in front of visitors. This will not only comply with Google’s new update, but will also bring more value and visitors to your site -- and more qualified ones, at that.

Adapt and Improve

In the fast-paced world of digital marketing, these changes were inevitable.

Inbound marketing itself was born from marketers trying to combat the “intrusiveness” of traditional marketing methods and make their offering more accessible to the user. Google’s update is simply forcing us to abide by the principles inbound marketing was founded upon.

This update is a chance of marketers to further enhance the user experience of their websites and provide real value, and for the inbound community to find alternative ways of mobile lead generation that is user-friendly.

Make sure your team has a good understanding of these changes, what pages will be affected, and how they can start preparing today.

Free Assessment:

How does your inbound marketing measure up?
Take this free, 5-minute assessment and learn what you can start doing today to boost traffic, leads, and sales.


Marketing Strategy
Published on September 2, 2016

Recent Articles

7 Must-have Word-of-Mouth Marketing Strategies [Infographic]
May 8, 2023 • 4 min read
What Small Business Leaders Need To Know to Thrive During a Recession
April 19, 2023 • 7 min read
5 Keys to Marketing Your Business During a Recession
April 17, 2023 • 5 min read
Should Your Demand Gen Strategy Change in a Slumping Economy?
April 12, 2023 • 5 min read
Demand Generation vs. Lead Generation: What’s the Difference?
April 10, 2023 • 5 min read
How a Lack of Sales and Leadership Buy-in Is Killing Marketing Morale Worldwide
March 6, 2023 • 5 min read
Website Conversions in 2023 — STOP, START, KEEP
January 25, 2023 • 5 min read
HubSpot Pricing: Your Guide to Everything HubSpot Costs for 2023
January 9, 2023 • 13 min read
Sales vs Marketing in 2023: What’s The Difference?
January 5, 2023 • 7 min read
How To Set Content Marketing Goals for Growth
December 29, 2022 • 6 min read
Should You Hire An Agency to Create Your Content?
December 12, 2022 • 4 min read
24 Essential Questions for Understanding Your Ideal Customer (+ Infographic)
December 1, 2022 • 5 min read
Take It From an Expert: You Probably Don’t Need a New Website
November 16, 2022 • 4 min read
Inbound Marketing Benefits Explained (Updated for 2023)
November 15, 2022 • 6 min read
Want to Win More and Improve Company Culture? Do More Role-playing
November 9, 2022 • 4 min read
4 Ways To Recession-proof Your Website In 2023
November 1, 2022 • 5 min read
Why Trust Is the True Currency for All Business
September 5, 2022 • 6 min read
The Big 5: Best Business Blog Topics to Drive Traffic, Leads, and Sales
August 29, 2022 • 10 min read
What is a Content Strategy? (Definition + Templates)
August 25, 2022 • 12 min read
10 Marketing Objective Examples To Guide and Focus Your Strategy
August 18, 2022 • 6 min read
What Marketers Need To Know About Switching to GA4 [Google Analytics 4]
July 30, 2022 • 5 min read
How To Inspire Your Marketing Team To Try New Ideas
July 25, 2022 • 5 min read
Do I Need To Invest in Marketing When My Business is Thriving? (+ Video)
July 21, 2022 • 7 min read
How Much Does It Cost To Become a World-class They Ask, You Answer Case Study?
July 16, 2022 • 12 min read
Blog Editorial Calendar for 2022: Templates, Examples, and Tips
May 21, 2022 • 6 min read