Google cracking down on websites that have intrusive pop-ups

If you are using pop-ups, you may want to get in touch with the company that created your website to make sure it will not appear lower down Google search results.  

In January 2017 Google will start looking at how pop-ups are used as they can ‘frustrate users because they are unable to easily access the content that they were expecting when they tapped on the search result’. 

They have provided examples of what will be penalised, and what is acceptable. The things to avoid are:

  • Showing a pop-up that covers the main content, either immediately after the user navigates to a page from the search results, or while they are looking through the page
  • Displaying a standalone pop-up (they use the term ‘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 pop-up, but the original content has been inlined underneath the fold

 Google - pop-ups that wil be penalised

Techniques that, used responsibly, and would not be penalised are:

  • Those 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.


Google - pop-ups that will be penalised


Images from Google and Business Insider UK.