Google’s mobile popup algorithm impact on web development

Google’s mobile popup algorithm impact on web development

Not that long ago, Google updated its search algorithms and introduced changes related to the mobile popups and sites ranking. In the guest article below, Jenny Holt describes what exactly happened.


How Google’s New Mobile Popup Algorithm is Impacting Web Development

Since its inception, Google has been a major driving force in how the Internet has grown and developed. Google Search is one of the world’s most widely used search engines, with its simple goal of helping users find the best answers to their questions quickly and without hassle.

In August of 2016, Google announced that it would be updating its search algorithms to target sites that utilize intrusive mobile popups or intrusive interstitials such as email signups, sale notifications, event ads, and more. These techniques are used by online companies to gain new customers or garner more sales from existing customers, but they can be disruptive to the user browsing experience. With Google’s updated algorithm, websites using intrusive interstitials won’t rank highly within Google’s search results.

Affected Websites

Google aims to direct people to the best website to answer their question through its search function, and part of this is leading online browsers to user-friendly destinations. Interstitials can get in the way of smooth surfing, frustrating website visitors, and so Google had rewritten its search algorithm to penalize sites that use obtrusive popups by lowering their search ranking. Pages targeted include websites that:

  • Block important content with popups, whether it appears upon entering the site or after scrolling down a page.
  • Interrupt user experience with a standalone, full-screen popup that must be dismissed before the main site will appear.
  • Use a format where the above-the-fold portion of a page resembles a standalone interstitial, but you must scroll to see the site’s content.

Unaffected Websites

Not all sites that use popups are affected by Google’s new algorithm. Sites that have necessary or unobtrusive interstitials are generally unaffected by the change. Websites are unaffected if popups pertain to:

  • Legal agreements and obligations, such as age verification.
  • Login popups for private content and services.
  • Banners that are reasonably sized and easy to dismiss.

Google’s search algorithm takes hundreds of factors into consideration when assigning websites a ranking, and intrusive interstitials are just one signal that comes into play. Popular online destinations with quality content still tend to rank highly, regardless of whether or not they use popups.

Mixed Reactions

A lot of users claim to have seen little impact from changes to search algorithms since it was first introduced in January 2017, but web developers have taken notice. Ranking is important for online revenue, and now, avoiding interstitials and popups can give new and growing websites a leg up in the marketplace. More and more businesses are expected to drop the use of interstitials in favor of other advertising strategies. Online users have the engineers at Google to thank as they start seeing fewer intrusive mobile popups disrupting their browsing experience.

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