Websites use pop-ups for a variety of reasons. Sometimes, a responsible web experience requires them. But then, there are times where pop-ups are intrusive and make content less accessible. Beginning January 10, 2017, these intrusive pop-ups will be penalized as Google continues its trend towards mobile-friendliness. Here’s some tips to make sure your pop-ups follow Google’s new guidelines.

Google Search’s Ultimate Goal

The ultimate goal of Google Search is to quickly serve the best answers to users’ questions regardless of device used. Google uses hundreds of identifiers to determine search rank. The reason why Google is focusing on pop-ups is because they can delay users from accessing expected content. This causes frustration and drives users away from a website. Hence, the penalty.

Intrusive Pop-Ups That Delay and Frustrate

In a recent post on Google’s Webmaster Central Blog, Product Manager Doantam Phan provided guidance as to the type of pop-ups that’ll result in a penalty to search ranks. These are pop-ups that hurt the user experience. Namely:

  • Pop-ups that cover the main content of a page, either immediately after a page loads, or while a user is browsing content.
  • Pop-ups covering the entire screen, forcing a user to dismiss it before accessing the desired content.
  • Layouts where the above-the fold portion of the page appears similar to a pop-up, but the desired content is inlined underneath the fold.


Responsible Pop-Ups

Google’s new guidelines do allow certain types of pop-ups. These, used responsibly, will not be penalized according to Google:

  • Pop-ups used for legal obligations such as cookie usage or age verification.
  • Login dialogs on private, not publicly indexable websites.
  • Easily dismissible pop-ups that use a reasonable amount of screen space.


Remember, Google simply wants people to find what they’re looking for as quickly as possible. Make sure your website is furthering that goal.

Thanks for reading.

Google To Penalize Intrusive Pop-ups
Google To Penalize Intrusive Pop-ups
Starting January 2017, Google will penalize sites that use intrusive pop-ups. Read this to check if your pop-ups are allowed under Google's new guidelines.
Ender Consulting LLC
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Lucas Bako is the Founder of Ender Consulting LLC.
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