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Google penalties for sites that have excessive pop-ups

For your website to rank well in search engine results for key terms, you need to keep abreast of Google’s updates. For example, many businesses were hit by Google Panda, starting in 2011, that penalised ‘low-quality’ websites that used quick and so-called ‘black hat’ measures to rank. Now Google has announced it will penalise sites that use excessive pop-ups, but what does this mean for your website?

Consider replacing pop-ups with static lead capture forms

If you have been using pop-up email capture forms to build mailing lists, consider switching to static form boxes or always-there header or footer bars that don’t interrupt the user’s experience. Less intrusive and disruptive lead acquisition is better for users’ overall experience.

Avoid spam pop-ups and slide-ins and only use legitimate tools

Note that Google will penalise ‘excessive’ pop-up use. This doesn’t mean you can’t use pop-ups or slide-in questions at all. Slide-in question boxes can be very useful for getting perspective on why visitors aren’t converting to customers. Just make sure that any type of triggered event on your website is as minimally disruptive as possible.


Use trusted tools for on-site surveys that are less likely to register as spam signals.

Turn off pop-ups for mobile

One of the many reasons why Google has made this move is the broad shift towards mobile. As more and more people browse their favourite websites and make purchases using their mobile phones, Google’s recent updates have prioritised rewarding websites that are ‘mobile-friendly’. Pop-ups designed for desktop often display incorrectly on mobile screens.


Turn off pop-ups for mobile and use contextual menus and other mobile-friendly elements to guide visitors towards desirable actions instead.

You have until January 10, 2017 to safeguard yourself against penalties

Google announced that its new measures to prevent abuse of intrusive pop-ups will take effect from the 10th of January, 2017. This gives you time (if your website could potentially be hit) to find alternative means for converting casual blog readers into customers or extending special offers.

Does your website use pop-ups? Are you worried you could be hit by a Google penalty? We can help you optimise your site for search. Speak to Go Fish today about our digital marketing services.

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