Caution! Pop-ups such as ads and sign-up invites are a negative ranking factor on Google. They could be hurting you in searches.
Do you use pop-up ads or sign-up requests on any of your website pages? Be careful—Google counts this against you in rankings.
Google's goal is to make sure that when people click on a link in search results, they go directly to the content that Google promised them. If there's a pop-up ad or other display in front of that content, the visitor has to jump through hoops to get to the information they're looking for. That's bad for Google. And probably not so good for you.
According to Google Webmasters, "Pages where content is not easily accessible to a user on the transition from the mobile search results may not rank as high."
Google analysts point out that pop-ups are espcially difficult on mobile, where the user needs to hunt for "a tiny little x" in order to close the window. It's even worse if a user on either mobile or desktop needs to "click on a box that says, 'No, I'm stupid. I don't want to sign up for your newsletter.'"
These cautions relate primarily to pop-ups that occur when a visitor first lands on a page. If a user engages by clicking on information and triggers a pop-up, that's probably fine from a Google SEO point of view.
Note that there are many factors involved in ranking. If you have a clearly unique product, a popular site with lots of links to it, and fresh, relevant content that stands out among other, similar sites, pop-ups might have less of an impact on your rankings overall.
This also doesn't affect Etsy shops, since Etsy does't provide pop-up options.
Will this affect your site? What are some alternatives you've come up with to motivate visitors through ads and signups?
Check future posts for tips on how to stay relevant, the types of content that can enrich your site, and the best way to use ads and links. Your questions are always welcome!
Barbara Clavan provides copywriting, coaching and consulting services to high-growth businesses, high-profile individuals and creative entrepreneurs.
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