Google to punish popups on mobile

John Davier
John Davier

Last updated on

February 8, 2023

Google announced that it will be punishing sites that have intrusive popups or interstitials on mobile starting from January 10, 2017. This is in an effort to improve the mobile search experience.

"Pages where content is not easily accessible to a user on the transition from the mobile search results may not rank as highly."

We think this is a refreshing change as people had started to abuse popups and interstitials with spammy content and it lead to a bad browsing experience on mobile devices.

Which popups are bad?

Here are some examples of popups that Google willpunish. They don't like spammypopups or full-screen interstitials that make content less accessible.

Bad Popups

Which popups are good?

Here are some valid cases of using popups or interstitials. For example, you can still ask people to accept cookie usage or verify their age. You can also show a bar or banner that doesn't take a lot of space.

Good popups

I use a popup! What should do?

First, don't panic! This change is specific tomobile devices and it does not start untilJanuary 10, 2017. Google is doing this to target spammers, not people who are improving their conversions in a nice non-intrusive way :)

If you are using a MailMunch popup, we have plenty of great options for you. If you are not using MailMunch, now is the time to consider switching!

Option A) Turn off the Popup for mobile devices and use a Top Bar

MailMunch provides you with a super flexible solution that alreadymeets Google's requirements. You can choose to show a small bar or banner that sticks on top or bottom of your site and politely asks for the email.

Mobile Top Bar

As you can see, it does not block the content, does not take much space and is not intrusive. This is something Google fully allows. We recommend you to keep the textlight so it doesn't take more space.

Now, all you have to do is turn off the popup on mobile and tablet devices, and then turn off the top bar on desktop devices. This can be done under "Display Rules" in "Behavior" step of the form editor.

Display Rules

Option B)Make your Popups smarter

Keep in mind, Google is targeting spammers. If you are using a popup in a smart way to improve your conversions, you'll be fine! As a MailMunch user, you would know how flexible our solution is. It lets you hyper target users and improve conversions. You can trigger popups based on:

  • Exit monitoring (when user is about to exit your page)
  • Time on page or site
  • Number of pageviews
  • Past behavior
  • Click to trigger
  • and more

This is the best time to use these features if you aren't already. Exit-intent is much more useful now. Targeting users who are exiting your site is not intrusive. Also, you can use click triggers to trigger your popups on click of a button or link. You can also set to show the popups only to returning visitors and not everyone else.

Option C) Use Embed forms formobile devices

We still highly recommend using popups on desktop devices as they convert much better. For mobile devices, you have another option of using embed forms. We have a great variety of beautiful embed forms that can be placed any where on your site. You can put them above, below or in between your content.

Conclusion (TL;DR)

It's business as usual. Google is doing a refreshing thing to make mobile experience better and targeting spammers. If you use MailMunch, you can either use our bars or make your popups smarter. If you are using another service or a custom built solution, now is the time to consider switching to MailMunch.

As long as you are not spamming and legitimately converting users, you should befine :)

Author Bio

John Davier

Content marketing guru at Mailmunch. I’m passionate about writing content that resonates with people. Live simply, give generously, stay happy.

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