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The New Google Update for Pop-ups: Is Your Site Ready?

Posted on Categories Ecommerce, mCommerce, Website OptimisationTags , , , ,

On the 10th January, the ever-evolving Google search algorithm will change.

The big change in a nutshell? Google will now punish sites that use intrusive pop-ups or ‘interstitials’ on their mobile websites by lowering their search ranking.

Do take note, that this is only affecting mobile sites. So, you won’t need to make any updates to your desktop site.

Also, the update isn’t something to be too worried about. Google launched an update last year that gave preference in its search results to “mobile friendly sites”. This update is a natural extension of this, and one that isn’t difficult to work with. 

The tricky part is determining what is meant, exactly, by an intrusive pop-up. Let’s summarise what you can and can’t do when it comes to pop-ups.

These pop-ups are not OK: 

–  A pop up that covers the main content of the page.

–  Pop ups that are difficult to dismiss (can you clearly see the cross?).

–  Using a pop-up that is similar to the style of the above-the-fold part of the page.


These pop-ups are OK

– Pop-ups and banners that, in Google’s words, use a “reasonable amount of screen space”, and that can be dismissed easily. If in doubt, the app install banners provided by Chrome and Safari are safe to use and meet the new guidelines.

– Pop-ups that notify visitors of some kind of legal requirement. For example, cookie regulations or age verification. These should be at the top of the screen and not obscure the entire page.

Here’s a handy image from Google that illustrates acceptable pop-ups:

google-pop-up-guidelines

What about Bunting’s pop-ups?

Using pop-ups is a key part of our tool, and we all know how engaging pop-ups can be when used to personalise the customer experience.

Our advice is this:

When creating pop-up content, to play it completely safe, you can disable pop-ups for mobile devices. To do this, when you’re in visitor targeting, select ‘device used is equal to computer’. This will prevent mobile devices seeing the pop-up.

targeting-tool-equal-to-computer

A great alternative to pop-ups is displaying Bunting’s message bars on mobile. These can present a personalised message to users at the top or bottom of screen. They’re definitely not intrusive, and easily dismissable – keeping your customers, and Google, happy!

All in all, the new update is nothing to lose sleep over. By following our tips above, your site should be fine. And for our users, make sure you log in to your Bunting account to make any required changes!