Google Dislikes Mobile Popup Ads as Much as We Do

Websites can no longer focus on optimizing search results for desktops, they need to optimize for mobile, too. Starting in 2014, Google added “mobile-friendly” to their search results ranking,[1] so marketers are continuously updating the way they optimize their websites. Amanda Zantal-Wiener from HubSpot has a great article on the changes Google is making starting January 10, 2017.

Those annoying popup ads, that I don’t think anyone likes, may be disappearing. I think everyone has experienced these ads that pop up when you were about to click something, so then you end up clicking on something else. Or you tap 15 times on that little “x” they give you in the corner.

Google calls these “interstitials,” and they will affect the way websites rank.[2] Websites with those popup ads are considered to negatively affect user experience, therefore Google will rank them lower in search results.

There are criteria that the popup ads have to fall under in order to be affected:

  • Showing a popup that covers the majority of the page, either immediately after they land on the page, or after scrolling.[3]
  • Showing a popup that the user has to close before being able to read the content.[4]
  • Showing a popup above the fold, with the main content underneath.[5]

Popups that verify a user’s age or notify the website’s use of cookies will not be affected by the change.[6] These changes will ultimately benefit users, but could hinder marketers who rely on these ads for revenue. Amanda offers advice to those marketers:

  • Remove the popup ads, unless it is a legal requirement.[7]
  • Determine a new source for ad revenue.[8]
  • Find ways to advertise without affecting user experience.[9]
  • Make your content valuable to the user.[10]

Amanda argues that forcing companies to re-think their advertising may allow marketers to consider their users’ experiences more.[11] Ultimately, this change is great for both users and marketers. It will improve user experience and create innovation within companies.


[2] Ibid

[3] Ibid

[4] Ibid

[5] Ibid

[6] Ibid

[7] Ibid

[8] Ibid

[9] Ibid

[10] Ibid

[11] Ibid


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