How to avoid Google penalties for mobile pop-ups


February 1, 2018

Author: Katharina Heitmann

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When it comes to responding to daily Google searches, user-friendliness and high-quality content are paramount. And as mobile search becomes an increasingly popular method of finding information, mobile-friendliness is ever more important. Of approximately two trillion searches per year, more than 56% are now from mobile and are subject to particular Google requirements.

Penalties and sanctions to ensure quality on mobile websites

Two years ago, as the focus shifted to websites which support mobile design, Google began to re-structure its quality standards. In January last year, this optimization was backed up by Google penalties for mobile pop-ups and is now the cornerstone of all mobile SEO measures.

Google’s webmaster guidelines feature a list of properties which contains concrete recommendations for building your mobile domain. Websites which don’t adhere to the recommendations risk penalties and sanctions which in turn can result in negative ranking results. The search engine primus is keeping a close eye on all measures which could damage or restrict user experience, particularly intrusive pop-ups, banners and overlays.

How to avoid Google penalties when using mobile pop-ups and boost user-friendliness

In order to help you stick to the new guidelines when building your website and avoid sanctions and penalties, here are a few helpful tips:

What could result in a penalty?

  • Pop-ups or windows which appear immediately, or after a short period, and obscure most of the content on a page
  • Overlays which block content and must be manually closed/removed
  • Layout designs which obscure content and force the user to scroll or manually remove

What measures are safe?

  • Information about cookies which appear via pop-up
  • Age checks which protect young users from unsuitable content
  • Log-in windows on websites with private or pay content
  • Banners which take up an appropriate amount of space and are easily removable

The guidelines don’t ban all pop-ups but act as a reminder that even marketing strategies have to stick to the screen layout to keep user-friendliness in mind. When designs and pop-ups don’t stick to these guidelines, traffic from mobile rankings suffer. But here’s the positive: fix any offending overlays and make sure that users are happy to stay on your website. Any penalties will be picked up by the next crawl and lifted.

Author: Katharina Heitmann