Google will start punishing mobile sites that show intrusive popups

Mark the date people! Starting from January 10, 2017 Google will start punishing mobile sites that show intrusive popups. Google wants to improve mobile search experience that make finding content easier for users. This long awaited move was much required and now its here. We all hate popups, specially when it appears on mobile sites where the screen is small & some popups don't even have the option to close.


As per Google's post: "Pages that show intrusive interstitials provide a poorer experience to users than other pages where content is immediately accessible. This can be problematic on mobile devices where screens are often smaller. To improve the mobile search experience, after January 10, 2017, pages where content is not easily accessible to a user on the transition from the mobile search results may not rank as highly."

Which popups are bad?

Google 1
  • Showing a popup that covers the main content, either immediately after the user navigates to a page from the search results, or while they are looking through the page.
  • Displaying a standalone interstitial that the user has to dismiss before accessing the main content.
  • Using a layout where the above-the-fold portion of the page appears similar to a standalone interstitial, but the original content has been inlined underneath the fold.

Which popups are safe?

Google 2
  • Interstitials that appear to be in response to a legal obligation, such as for cookie usage or for age verification.
  • Login dialogs on sites where content is not publicly indexable. For example, this would include private content such as email or unindexable content that is behind a paywall.
  • Banners that use a reasonable amount of screen space and are easily dismissible. For example, the app install banners provided by Safari and Chrome are examples of banners that use a reasonable amount of screen space.

If you are using popups on your mobile version of website/blog, don't panic. You wont be affected now but if you don't act before January 10, 2017 your website/blog wont be showing up in search results for better positions.

This is what you can do: 

  • Turn off the popups for mobile devices
  • Make use of Top Bar or Embedded option for mobile devices instead of popups

What do you think about this Google's new step to target spammers?