By @TheMarkDalton

Google is about to deal another blow to mobile website owners. Recently a certain type of ad has become very popular, a popup ad which displays when you go into a website asking if you want to sign up to a newsletter or sign up to an online course and so on.

It is no secret that the majority of users hate popup ads, however despite this, websites continue to deploy them. Social Media Explorer users interstitial content on their site and full admit to it. When you go onto their webpage you see a popup asking people to join their Slack community. Why do they have such an annoying popup ad? Simply because it works, they say that they have seen triple the normal conversion rate on desktop and expect to see an increase in sign ups on mobile.

However, Google has decided that websites using popups like this should be punished and that is what they intend to do. Google has decided that websites which use popups and interstitials are worse search results and as a result will rank them lower because of it.

There are hundreds of “signals” which go into Google’s search result rankings so you don’t need to run out and remove you ad overnight. There is a chance that a website which deploys informative popups and interstitials relative to their content may not face as harsh a punishment as others.

Google wants to direct people to better, informative results and also does not want to annoy people with popup ads. Last year Google began boosting the rank of mobile friendly websites (this is why you should all be building your websites for mobile now!) and with search rankings being so important to traffic, the latest change is something people will need to keep an eye on.

The new changes will go into effect next year, starting on the 10th January and from that point on Google will start to punish popup content, interstitials and will lower the rank of sites “where content is not easily accessible.”

Not all popups are going to be punished in the new scheme, popups which are required for legal requirements – like verifying a persons age – will still be okay and reasonable banner ads are also acceptable.

For now there is time to get your thinking caps on, you have until 10th January 2017 to figure out a new way of collecting leads, emails and signups which is not in the form of a popup ad. We will be thinking hard about it too and when we come up with some ideas we will let you know as always. However should you have some ideas of your own then let us know about them!

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